London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall
But the five-star turn came with Petrenko and the LPO bravely essaying, with lethal precision, the piece that I still believe might be Shostakovich’s greatest symphony –“The Year 1905”. Its revolutionary songs carry so much emotional memory that even “outsiders” like myself feel humbled by them. The big graphic moments seemed more hair-raising than ever: only Shostakovich could have deployed music’s most formal device, a fugue, to re-enact a massacre of such remorseless brutality. The advancing percussion battery crushed all before it, trumpet crescendos strafed the texture. One’s heart leapt with the major key transformation of the slow movement then quietly mourned with the great cor anglais solo (Sue Bohling) of the finale. The ambivalent major/minor oscillation of the bells failed to come through at the close – but otherwise, overwhelming.