Göteborgs Symfoniker
Available until 21 December 2022

Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, August 24, 2022, Gothenburg Concert Hall.

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.

Enjoy.

Get news from GSOplay

Stay up to date with new concerts on GSOplay.

Programme

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) Symphony No. 5 in D-minor, Op. 47 Moderato Allegretto Largo Allegro non troppo 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 finale weaves together Shostakovich’s personal emotions and his public and social situations. The theme is taken from a song he composed to a poem by Pushkin, Rebirth*, written just before the symphony. The text is about how the artistic genius’s work was painted over in black brush strokes by an insensitive “artist-barbarian”, but reappears when the black paint flakes off. Andreas Konvicka

Participants

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Tarmo Peltokoski conductor

Chad Hoopes violin