• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Nelsons: Shostakovich Symphony no 7 ("Leningrad") (Orfeo)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Nelsons

Shostakovich Symphony no 7 ("Leningrad")


Any new recorded edition of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony which doesn't actually trip over its own feet is a welcome addition to the catalogue. There are so many approaches to the wartime symphony that they have to be scrutinised carefully. Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons and his City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra take a thoughtful, analytical approach to the 73-minute epic, recorded live at Symphony Hall, Birmingham exactly a year ago (with sustained audience applause tacked on). The blurb on the disc is keen to alert us to Nelsons's "close attention to detail". The alert is superfluous: the clarity of textures, even in the thunderous climaxes throughout the symphony, is transparently obvious, though I would take issue with some of his ensemble balancing. And there is a cost to Nelsons's clarity: the symphony loses its visceral edge and its juggernaut quality. This might be the only account, live or recorded, where the blazing final coda hasn't metaphorically lifted me out of my seat.

Michael Tumelty

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.