Classical Reviews

> Shostakovich: Symphony No.10. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Naxos CD.

Vasily Perenko's reputation as a conductor soars higher as the RLPO tackles the most popular of Shostakovich's symphonies and triumphs again.

This is a terrific performance, further confirming that this Naxos complete set of Shostakovich symphonies so far is very special in terms of interpretation, virtuoso playing and clarity of recording.

It is a monumental work with extended first movement (23 minutes) followed by the brief, explosive and brutal scherzo and then two further long movements.

This outstanding music may be a portrait commentary on Stalin's iron fists, but it also contains the intriguing element of the Elmira motif, a musical code to the name of a young woman pianist to whom he was attracted.

Highlight: exultant ending to finale.

> William Walton: Symphonies No1 and 2. Lille National Orchestra. BIS CD.

The interesting second symphony, scored for bigger orchestra, follows No 1 on this disc, and the microphones seemed to have recorded it better. Walton, of Facade and Belshazzar's Feast fame, died in 1983 with these two symphonies to his name.

The first, composed in the 1930s, celebrates his hero Sibelius. The second surveys the soundscape of 1957, seemingly a joyous follow-up to his bubbly Partita written as a 40th-birthday present for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Welshman Owain Hughes conducts the French Orchestra in these works by the Lancashire composer (hence the Blackpool pier features on disc's cover).

The No 2, in particular, should be an orchestral showpiece, but I found both performances rather lacklustre, without the real brilliance that should dazzle our ears.

Recommend: shorter Symphony No 2.

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