2016

The Rite of Spring, Thursday 9 & Friday 10 June

The hall's acoustic blushed in all the right places: tuttis were terrifying, horns and brass burnished and percussion (significantly bass drum and timpani) thrilling but not booming. A standing ovation was given by a rapturous full house: lasting the best part of five minutes, it was most warmly deserved and a sign that, a decade on, Liverpool's affection for their adopted Russian son shows no sign of abating.
Bachtrack 5*

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BBC Prom, Thursday 25 August

Liverpool Philharmonic shone under Petrenko’s baton in an account of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony that displayed its blend of glamour and nostalgia.
The Guardian 4*

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Fairy Tales, Wednesday 3 & Thursday 4 December

Dashing vindication of ballet's most inventive act complete in concert…There’s not a dud or redundant number in the entire act, as Vasily Petrenko brilliantly demonstrated; even all the repeats were welcome.
The Arts Desk

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Cast with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Friday 5 December

Cast has joined a select – if growing – band of, well, bands who have teamed up with the RLPO to present their back catalogue in a different way.
Liverpool Echo 4*

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2017

On Record: Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 6 (Onyx) Friday, 20 January
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic was born in the same year as Tchaikovsky so perhaps this is a romance that was written in the stars. The orchestra’s chief conductor, Vasily Petrenko — a Merseyside fixture since 2006, and officially an “honorary Scouser” — has wrapped up a Tchaikovsky cycle in rip-roaring, wonderfully seductive style.
The Times 5*

On Record: Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 6 (Onyx) Friday, 20 January
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko has worked assiduously with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to impose a single-minded vision that drills deep into the playing of every section. There are other recordings of the these symphonies that boast a more luxurious orchestra lustre, but Petrenko exerts a grip that ratchets up the intensity to maximum.
Financial Times 4*

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On Record: Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 6 (Onyx), Sunday 22 January
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

….the charismatic young Russian (Petrenko) is often electrifying in his native repertoire, and his startling accounts of the F minor (No 4) and B minor (Pathétique) symphonies are among the more distinguished of recent issues. As with most of his Shostakovich symphonies for Naxos, he has raised the orchestra’s game in this music to international level with the RLPO’s string playing out of all recognition.
The Times, Album of the Week

On Record: Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 6 (Onyx), Sunday 22 January
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

I think Petrenko, with these readings, rises towards the top of the pile, also because of his disciplined intensity and clarity in the Pathétique, where he makes sense of the descriptions of each of the four movements found, after his death, among Tchaikovsky’s papers: ‘Life, Love, Disappointment and Death. Cheerful stuff! But turned into memorable listening by the Merseysiders.
Mail on Sunday 5*

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Petrenko’s Shostakovich, Sunday 22 January

Shostakovich’s 12th Symphony is outwardly his most conventional – the only one to observe standard sonata form – and consequently the most overlooked. Perhaps wisely, Petrenko avoided picking the work apart for coded anti-communist references, but painted the undeniably stirring evocation of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in the garish, unequivocal colours of a Soviet workers’ epic. This was socialist realism at its most gloriously kitsch and unabashed.
The Guardian 4*

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Russian Superstars at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Wednesday 1 February

However different,when these two artists (Vasily Petrenko and pianist Daniil Trifonov) combine with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the only response is to offer superlatives. This was music-making of real power and force, the kind you always hope to find in the concert-hall, and those who were in attendance at Symphony Hall tonight struck lucky. The programme will be repeated in Liverpool this week. If you can get there, I urge you to go.
Bachtrack 5*

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On Record: The Best Recording of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2, Wednesday 15 February
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Alexandre Tharaud/ Alexander Vedernikov

Another ‘Rach 2’ dropping on to the doormat makes the heart rather sink. Except…the pianist is the wonderfully gifted Alexandre Tharaud, and the orchestra is the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and, let’s see, the conductor is the excellent Alexander Vedernikov. This might be special. So it proves.
Gramophone

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On Record: Elgar Symphony No. 2 (Onyx), Sunday 19 February
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

This passionate account of Elgar’s Second Symphony is a vivid reminder of the Mahlerian complexity of the score, and of how much more craggy in texture and ambiguous in mood it is than the First. Petrenko’s tempos in the long opening movement are admirably flexible, but it’s in the last two that interpretation and playing seem to me finest; the finale achieves a noble grandeur and melancholy. Three of Elgar’s charming miniatures complete the disc.
The Times

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On Record: Elgar Symphony No. 2 (Onyx), Sunday 19 February
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

This release completes Vasily Petrenko’s impressive Tchaikovsky symphony cycle with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for Onyx, entirely living up to the early promise offered by last year’s set of Nos 1, 2 and 5 which was my nomination for Critics’ Choice in 2016. Petrenko’s fast and furious approach once again pays off with invigorating performances which dispel Russian gloom. The RLPO play their socks off and must rank as one of the finest ‘Russian orchestras’ in the UK today.
Gramophone

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On Record: Elgar Symphony No. 2 (Onyx), Sunday 12 March
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

This superb album may be the best yet from Liverpool’s resident Elgarian, Vasily Petrenko, and the brilliantly responsive orchestra he has fashioned on Merseyside. Even if you have a recording of Elgar’s Second, you should get this one, because Petrenko’s understanding of this elusive and problematic piece is so profound.
Mail on Sunday 5* Album of the Week

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The Damnation of Faust, Saturday 11 March

John Nelson’s conducting, the dramatic performances and the Scouse accent made for a thrilling concert performance of Berlioz’s oratorio.
The Guardian 4*

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On Record: Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony: Symphony No. 4 (Onyx)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Andrew Manze, Sunday 2 April

The first two symphonies in this Vaughan Williams series with Andrew Manze conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra met with high praise. This second album has the same persuasive mix of poetry, raw splendour and poignancy, with exceptional playing from the RLPO.
The Observer 5*

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Symphonie Fantastique! Thursday 6 & Friday 7 April

In a performance such as this one from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, you get a sense of its (Symphonie Fantastique) history...this was as convincing a performance as you're likely to hear anywhere in the UK. Dances of Galánta allowed the RLPO to show off its strengths in all departments from the effulgent opening flourish to the parts for different orchestral groups: the section for solo oboe stood out, mellifluously played by Ruth Davies..
Bachtrack 4*

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On Record: Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony: Symphony No. 4 (Onyx),
Tuesday 11 April

… excellent sound, fine performances, this second instalment of Andrew Manze’s Vaughan Williams cycle lives up to the promise of volume 1….this will be a notable series.
Musicweb International

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Hope and Passion, Wednesday 12 April

What an experience too for the young singers of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, joining forces here with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir to create an army of voices for this city premiere of Rutter's new, effervescent, chime-filled choral work The Gift of Life.
Arts City Liverpool 4*

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BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko were double winners in these prestigious awards; ‘Orchestral Recording of the Year’ decided by public vote: and ‘Recording of the Year 2017’ for Tchaikovsky Symphonies 1, 2 and 5 (Onyx), decided by the Awards Jury.

A triumphant celebration of ten years since Petrenko became the youngest ever principal conductor in the Liverpool ensemble’s history, and an affirmation of a brilliant musical partnership. An exceptional achievement – technically brilliant, passionate and utterly beautiful. It amply shows why the RLPO is a world-class musical force to be reckoned with.
BBC Music Magazine

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The coveted Record of the Year award has gone to Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for their new-minted accounts of Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 5 on Onyx, truly a firm favourite in the Presto office.
Presto Classic, April

Read Presto’s record review here
Read Presto’s exclusive interview with Vasily Petrenko about the Tchaikovsky cycle here

On Record: Elgar Symphony No. 2 (Onyx), May
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Vasily Petrenko

I am even more impressed by the Russian’s reading of the Second Symphony, which has a clarity of sound to match the luxuriance of Elgar’s orchestration. Indeed, the RLPO, on great form, provide a sumptuous array of textures with an ensemble that is crisp and incisive.
Gramophone (May issue)

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