Shostakovich, Dmitry, SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphonies, Vol. 3 | Symphony No. 8 (Vasily Petrenko),
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A third of a century after his death the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich have moved to the absolute centre of the repertoire. Written during World War II, the unusually constructed Eighth Symphony
is a powerful work built on striking contrasts between music which is at times unremittingly bleak and at others brutally intense. The predominantly slow opening movement, punctuated by a terrifying central crescendo, is followed by a scherzo of savage parody. At the heart of the Symphony a second fast movement builds remorselessly to a shattering climax over pounding timpani. The rapt, largely introspective fourth movement, Largo
, leads straight into the last movement, Allegretto
, which seems to reach out for hope in an uncertain world.