Paavo Järvi / Russian National Orchestra

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7

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Dmitry Shostakovich's wartime Symphony No. 7 in C major, "Leningrad," is counted among his most popular compositions, and this multichannel recording by Paavo Järvi and the Russian National Orchestra shows why it has continued to have such a broad appeal. Apart from the music's frequent use in Russia for commemorations of the dead of World War II, it communicates a sweeping energy and heroic determination that western audiences respond to immediately, and Shostakovich's score is clear and direct, leaving little room for the ambiguity and questioning found in his other works. Appropriately, Järvi's reading is bold and straightforward, and the orchestra plays with precision, power, and a deep emotional commitment, which is sometimes lacking in non-Russian performances. This PentaTone hybrid SACD offers a wide but carefully balanced dynamic range, so the many soft passages are fully audible and transparent, and there's no need to adjust the volume for the loudest sections.

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