Sunday, October 27, 2013

New York Philharmonic Orchestra: Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Leonard Bernstein, performs Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D minor, opus 47, at a 1979 concert at Bunka Kainan, Tokyo, Japan. Shostakovich [1906-1975] composed this work when he was only thirty, between April 1937 and July 1937, during the period of The Great Terror [1936-39]; its made its first official appearance on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg, or simply Petersburg) when the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky gave a performance that received much public approval.

For a greater historical understanding of this symphony, I refer you to Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, who have much to say about this musical composition; its importance to humanity in understanding both the period in history in which Shostakovich wrote and the pressures of an artist can be summed up by a quote attributed to the composer:
“I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing …’”

—words allegedly said by Shostakovich many years after the symphony was written