Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 was given its premiere in 1937. It was outwardly in compliance with the ruling party, but the public heard a message of suffering in Shostakovich's masterpiece and it was an unprecedented triumph. Symphony No.12 "The Year 1917" was dedicated to Vladimir Lenin. Both works were premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yevgeny Mravinsky. The performances featured here were recorded in December 1965.
Internationally recognized as one of the most talented conductors of his generation, Yuri Temirkanov has been the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 1988.
Leonard Bernstein's 1945 recording of the Fifth Symphony bears testament, if any were needed, to the prowess of the then 27-year-old wunderkind. The quality of the recording is low by modern standards, in particular the high strings and flutes, which take on a sibilant, peevish quality, but one can hear the authority of the performance all the same.
I believe this was Previn's first recording with the London Symphony, back in 1965. This period yielded a bumper crop of fine recordings with this team, including Nielsen's First Symphony, Scheherazade, and Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony. This is as fine a Shostakovich Fifth as I have ever heard. […]
The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich is a work for orchestra composed between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky. The premiere was a huge success, and received an ovation that lasted well over half an hour.
Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is 50 minutes of tragedy, despair, terror, and violence and three minutes of triumph. Premiered in 1953, the best performance is still that conducted by Mravinsky. Yevgeny Mravinsky's June 3, 1955, performance with the Leningrad Philharmonic of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 is just as great. Mravinsky was the best Soviet conductor and his passionate precision and intense interpretations were as valid for Beethoven as they were for Shostakovich. His interpretations can be hard-driven and sharp-edged, but no one could object to the lucid strength and linear lyricism he brings to the work.