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Video on demand: Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Watch online on www.gso.seGSOplayRecorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall: Stora Salen, Gothenburg, Sweden
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On demand until Wednesday 21 December 2022 09:00

In 1936, the newspaper Pravda published a devastatingly critical article on Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which was described as “anti-Soviet, coarse, primitive and vulgar”. The article coincided with Stalin’s Great Purge, which also influenced cultural politics. Shostakovich found himself out in the cold and was forced to withdraw his newly composed, dissonant, Mahler-inspired fourth symphony. Instead, he made an about-face and composed the more approachable fifth symphony, presented as “A Soviet Artist’s Practical and Creative Response to Just Criticism”.

The symphony follows the classic four-movement structure and has the same pattern as Beethoven’s fifth symphony. It begins in a tragic minor key, but concludes in a resonant major key. As usual with Shostakovich’s music, it contains several different aspects, including a corrected exterior that is seemingly in praise of communism, as well as hidden themes that reflect more of his inner thoughts and feelings.

The young conductor Tarmo Peltokoski from Vaasa, Finland got the dream job as a 21-year-old when he was appointed first chief conductor of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen earlier this year. He was recently appointed chief conductor of the Latvian National Orchestra in Riga and he has made famous appearances for, among others, our chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali in Paris. At the same time, he works side by side with Sakari Oramo at the Sibelius Academy.

Recorded on 24 August 2022

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