Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Vasily Petrenko

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Editor's Choice

Appearing in the year of Stalin's demise, it's tempting to speculate on Shostakovich's motivations and thoughts in composing his tenth symphony. Since his second run-in with the Soviet regime five years earlier, Shostakovich had lain low in terms of symphonic output. Some listeners have hypothesised that the brief and furious second movement represents Stalin, but no scholarly evidence has yet been found to support this. Whatever his inspiration, Shostakovich's tenth symphony marked a triumphant return to form upon its 1953 premiere and to this day is - along with his fifth and seventh symphonies - one of his most popular orchestral works. This 2010 recording attracted rave review and a handful of awards, marking Vasily Petrenko's successful and enduring partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tracks with this symbol are accompanied by content from the Maestro Listening Guide.


  • I. Moderato

    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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  • II. Allegro

    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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  • III. Allegretto

    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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  • IV. Andante - Allegro

    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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Album review

“The fourth volume in Vasily Petrenko's complete cycle of the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich presents the enigmatic Symphony No. 10 in E minor, a predominantly somber work whose opening Moderato is sometimes regarded as an orchestral Requiem for the victims of Stalin, though this characterization is not universally accepted. Composed shortly after the death of the Soviet leader, the Tenth is more widely understood as a release valve for Shostakovich's pent-up ideas, which had been repressed under Stalin; indeed, the second movement is said to be a portrait of him, his violent character unsparingly depicted with slashing rhythms, vulgar clichés, and harsh dissonances. There is also the appearance of the autobiographical motive DSCH (D-E flat-C-B) in the theme of the third movement, which provides a hint of some private, personal mystery. But much of this symphony is filled with open mourning and what seems to be ironic instability, most prominently shown in the long, elegiac first movement, but also in parts of the sardonic Allegretto and even in the Andante introduction to the hyperactive finale. Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra put tremendous emotional power and physical energy into this 2009 performance, and even though purists might prefer a full-blooded Russian ensemble playing this work, the musicians give it a passionate and insightful rendition. The reproduction is sharply focused and the orchestra is quite clear, whether in soft passages or in the most shattering climaxes.”

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Record label



    16 November 2010


    Andrew Walton


    Phil Rowlands