Shostakovich Symphony No 7 "Leningrad"
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There has been no shortage of outings for Shostakovich's blockbuster Leningrad Symphony. The St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra played it impressively in Edinburgh in the early autumn, and Andris Nelson's new recorded version with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was reviewed here just last month. Hard on its heels comes another, this one from Valery Gergiev and his fantastic Mariinsky Orchestra, recorded just six months ago in St Petersburg and turned around very quickly by production and distribution people. This one doesn't need any help to get out there. Gergiev is a cult figure and his band is one of the best in the world; their concentration of playing is gripping. One note of caution: be prepared to be shocked by aspects of Gergiev's interpretation, which is slow, over-refined, very long range, and rather short in the brutish and juggernaut departments. I miss the visceral qualities of the music, and Gergiev allows only two cataclysmic moments: in the first movement march and in the final coda.