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Explore More: Learn about Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5

Joshua Weilerstein hosts the "Sticky Notes" podcast

Shostakovich’s life and career was so wrapped up with his relationship to the Soviet government that it is sometimes hard to appreciate that, all else aside, he was one of the great 20th century composers. His 5th symphony is the meeting point between Shostakovich’s music and the political web he was often ensnared in, and it is a piece that is still being vociferously debated. This week we’re going to tell the story of the piece’s genesis, and then we’ll explore the first two movements of the symphony.

Last week I told you the story of the genesis of Shostakovich’s 5th symphony. We talked politics, but we also talked about just the music itself. Today, I’ll take you through the second half of the symphony, again first from a musical point of view. But by the end of the piece, the political conversation and the debate over the ending itself becomes unavoidable. There is no other piece whose character or even tempo is as debated as the ending of Shostakovich’s 5th, so we’re going to have it out! Join us!