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Shostakovich Symphony No.7 'Leningrad'



First performed on 1 March 1942, with the world in the grip of an unprecedented conflict, the symphony’s apparent message of resistance and ultimate victory provided audiences with an intoxicating emblem of hope and defiance. Shortly after the Nazi blockade of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) began in September 1941, Shostakovich and other members of the artistic elite were airlifted out of the city in the interests of their safety. He completed the score of the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony, dedicating it to the besieged people of his home city, hundreds of thousands of whom were to be starved or bombed to death that winter. As a result of the work’s far-reaching success, Shostakovich became not just a national but an international icon; at home winning the coveted Stalin Prize First Class and abroad gaining huge international attention. Whilst official political and media channels portrayed the piece as a rallying call in the fight against Nazism, Shostakovich subsequently revealed that much of it was composed in his head before the war, and claimed that it was as much a response to Stalin’s brutality during the notorious purges of the 1930s.

The symphony is scored for vast orchestral forces, including an extensive battery of percussion, a piano, two harps and an array of extra brass instruments that strengthen the climactic moments in the first, third and fourth movements and which are used to great effect in this live recording of the acclaimed opening concert of Hallé’s current season.

Recording taken live from Bridgewater Hall, Manchester under multi-award winning Hallé producer Steve Portnoi with recorded sound fully capturing the drama of the live concert experience.

Shostakovich Symphony No.7 'Leningrad'


"This recording of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony seizes attention with one of the most purposeful-sounding starts of any version...By the end of this live performance, the finale's ending played with such stoic nobility, you truly believe you have just heard one of the greatest symphonies of the 20th century...The Hallé's playing is never less than immaculate, with particularly outstanding string playing." BBC Music Magazine, August 2014

"Elder launched into the opening with momentum, power and definition in equal measure. And that set him on course for a performance that was a real experience...Elder, with his finger on the pulse, and his orchestra resourceful in its colours and sheer heft." Gramophone, August 2014

"The first violins elegiac passage at 09'41" is wonderfully caught...As a document of a remarkable public event, this recording has a great deal in its favour." Music-Web International July 2014

"This is another excellent addition to the Hallé label’s series of live performances that shows what an asset the orchestra is to the city of Manchester." John Quinn,