Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, Bedrich Smetana, Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, Bedrich Smetana
Shostakovich as only his friend Rostropovich could interpret him.

Outside his family, no one had a closer personal and musical relationship to Dmitri Shostakovich than cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, a closeness vital to his interpretation of the composer's work — not just because of his insight into Shostakovich's thoughts and feelings, but because of his own similar grueling experiences under oppressive, soul-sucking Soviet rule. This performance of Shostakovich's Fifth, which was written at an emotional low point in the composer's life, captures the work's extremes of brutality, bleakness, bitter humor and defiance.