Dmtiri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5

After the Sixth (900123), Seventh (900184) and Tenth Symphonies (900185), BR-KLASSIK is now also releasing the Fifth Symphony by this important composer – performed live by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under its long-time chief conductor Mariss Jansons.

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“Increasingly, Shostakovich’s music is captivating people all over the world and appealing to their deepest emotions. Almost like no other, it bears witness to a traumatic political epoch while remaining a timeless expression of existential human feeling and experience. For me personally,” said conductor Mariss Jansons, who died last year, “Shostakovich is one of the most serious and sincere composers of them all.”

After accusations of formalism directed against Shostakovich in a critical Pravda article had forced the composer to withdraw his Fourth Symphony (it remained shelved until after Stalin’s death), the Fifth, written in 1937, was a phenomenal success. It premiered on November 21, 1937 under the young conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic. During the applause, which it seemed would never end, Mravinsky waved the score above his head for a good half hour – making it quite clear that the applause was for Shostakovich alone. Officially, the work was interpreted as the return of a prodigal son to the guidelines of Stalinist cultural policy. To this day the music has lost none of its fascination, and the Fifth Symphony ranks as one of Shostakovich’s best-known works.

Mariss Jansons, who was as much of an expert in the Slavonic repertoire as in the symphonic music of the 19th and 20th centuries, conducted this challenging masterpiece on several occasions. The performance recorded here comes from concerts on April 30 and May 2, 2014 at Munich’s Philharmonie im Gasteig. Under Jansons’ conducting, the musicians of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks tangibly convey the full ambiguity of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. As Shostakovich later wrote: “The rejoicing is extracted under duress. As if someone were beating you with a stick and insisting ‘Rejoice! You have to rejoice!’”

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mariss Jansons, conductor

1 CD highprice
Product Number: 900191
Total Time: 44:27 min.


  • Reference recording of Shostakovich’s famous Fifth Symphony
  • Performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of its long-time chief conductor Mariss Jansons, a proven specialist in the Slavonic repertoire
  • Exciting live atmosphere with the special acoustics of Munich’s Philharmonie in Gasteig
  • Recorded at Munich concerts in April and May, 2014