Vasily Petrenko

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 / Myaskovsky: Symphony No. 21

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Lawo Classics
UPC: 7090020182292
Catnr: LWC 1207
Release date: 04 December 2020
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Lawo Classics
Catalogue number
LWC 1207
Release date
04 December 2020

"6/10 Petrenko conjures up a beautiful sound again here."

Luister, 15-10-2021

About the album

Prokofiev described his Fifth Symphony, his first composition in this genre for sixteen years, as “…the culmination of an en­tire period in my work. I conceived it as a symphony on the grandeur of the human spirit.” He regarded this symphony, composed in the summer of 1944, as his finest work. The first movement (unusually an Andante, rather than an Allegro) opens quietly and lyrically with a rising theme for flute and bassoon, but with the introduction of brass and percussion the hard-edged side of Prokofiev’s language becomes more evident. A feeling of menace is not far below the surface. Among the abundance of melodic material in this opening movement, the second main subject is introduced by flute and oboe above delicate string accompaniment. The development begins with a return to the opening, now played by cellos and basses, though the main themes are not so much developed as pitted against each other. This is not untypical of Proko­fiev’s developments, which also tend to be based on conflict of keys rather than actual thematic development. Nevertheless, various themes in this symphony eventually undergo striking transformations in character. For instance, the coda to the first movement, severe and imposing, is derived from the innocent opening theme of the work.

Prokofiev may be considered by many to be among the ma­jor symphonists of his time, though his contribution to this genre is uneven. Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881–1950) was cer­tainly one of the most prolific symphonic composers of the twentieth century. Myaskovsky’s twenty-seven symphonies are diverse in style, character and form, ranging from a single movement to five movements, but generally he was a traditionalist, especially in terms of tonality and structure.

Myaskovsky composed his Twenty-first Symphony, sub-titled Symphony-Fantasy in F-sharp minor, in response to a commission from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. (Other composers who were commissioned for this occasion included Stravinsky, Kodály, Milhaud, Roy Harris and Walton.) Frederick Stock, the orches­tra’s conductor at that time and an admirer of Myaskovsky’s music, performed this work many times. Alexander Gauk conducted the USSR State Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere in November 1940. The first performance in America was given by Frederick Stock with the Chicago Symphony just a few weeks later.


After just one week working with Vasily Petrenko in 2009, the Oslo Philharmonic invited the Russian conductor to be its fifteenth Principal Conductor. At a landmark concert in Oslo on 28 August 2013, Petrenko was inaugurated in his new role conducting Stravinsky’s The Rite
of Spring.

Vasily Petrenko is one of the most significant and galvanizing musicians alive. He became famous for his transformative work at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the oldest orchestra in the United Kingdom, where he refashioned the orchestra’s sound, reconnected the organization to its home city and presided over a huge increase in ticket sales. He quickly came to represent a new generation of conductors ready to combine their uncompromising artistic work with a passion for communication and inclusion.

Vasily was born in St Petersburg in 1976 and trained at the city’s famous conservatoire. As a student, he took part in a master-class with Mariss Jansons, the conductor who helped establish the Oslo Philharmonic as one of the great orchestras of the world. After winning a handful of competitions, Vasily became Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra in 2004 and later principal guest conductor at the city’s Mikhailovsky Theatre.

Vasily is one of the most acclaimed classical recording artists alive and has won numerous accolades for his recordings of Russian repertoire, including two Gramophone awards. With the Oslo Philharmonic, he has recorded Shostakovich and Szymanowski concertos, Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, as well as two major cycles of orchestral works by Alexander Scriabin and Richard Strauss respectively.

Vasily has conducted the London, Sydney, Chicago, Vienna, San Francisco, and NHK Symphony Orchestras as well as the Russian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In February 2018 he made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He has conducted at the Zurich, Paris and Hamburg Operas and at Glyndebourne, and in 2019 made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

At Oslo Konserthus, Vasily has provided the backbone of the Oslo Philharmonic’s subscription series. He has conducted the orchestra in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, Dublin, Paris, Tokyo, Edinburgh, San Sebastian, Santander, Hong Kong and Taipei, and in 2019 in Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Cologne, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Ljubljana, Udine and Turin.

On 27 September 1919, a new orchestra took to the stage of the old Logan Hall in Oslo to give its first public concert. Conductor Georg Schnéevoigt presided over thrilling performances of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Christian Sinding’s First Symphony. After forty years of making- do, the Norwegian capital had at last got the orchestra it deserved. The Oslo Philharmonic was born. In the eight months that followed, the Oslo Philharmonic gave 135 concerts, most of which sold out. It tackled passionate Mahler, glistening Debussy and thrusting Nielsen. Soon, world famous musicians were coming to conduct it, relishing its youth and enthusiasm. Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel visited Oslo to coach the musicians through brand new music. National broadcaster NRK began to hang microphones at the orchestra’s concerts, transmitting them to the whole of Norway.

Over the next half-century, the Oslo Philharmonic’s reputation grew steadily. Then, in 1979, it changed forever. A young Latvian arrived in Norway, taking the orchestra apart section-by-section, putting it back together a finely tuned machine with a whole new attitude. Under Mariss Jansons, the orchestra became a rival to the great Philharmonics of Vienna, Berlin and New York. It was soon playing everywhere, from Seattle to Salzburg, Lisbon to London. Back home in Oslo, it got a modern, permanent concert hall of its own. In 1986, EMI drew up the largest orchestral contract in its history, ensuring the world would hear the rich, visceral sound of the Oslo Philharmonic.

In Oslo’s burgeoning cultural scene, the Philhamonic under Petrenko has been a vital and forward-looking centenarian. The subscription season in Oslo features the best musicians in the business. New works include commissions by Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, Bent Sørensen and Lera Auerbach in addition to a host of young Norwegian composers. Outdoor concerts attract tens of thousands; education and outreach programmes connect the orchestra with many hundreds more.

Vasily Petrenko has led the orchestra through its 100th anniversary season, including a European tour where the orchestra has appeared in Romania, the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Italy.


6/10 Petrenko conjures up a beautiful sound again here.
Luister, 15-10-2021

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