Beethoven and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphonies are huge works in the world of classical music. The raw shock and struggle of the opening movement of Beethoven 5, especially for audiences and musicians back in the day of its composition, is balanced by an exultant, triumphant 4th movement. This is music with philosophical intent. Beethoven was a man whose music was underpinned by powerful moral convictions and this finale packs a punch as a message of hope in a troubled world.

Shostakovich’s 5th is a truly a piece of its time. Written in the shadow of constant fear by a composer whose suitcase remained packed awaiting the moment he too would disappear as had so many other artists under Stalin. The genius of this symphony is that it deftly combines Stalin’s desire for music reflective of 19th century with moments that clearly reveal a troubled time in history.

Dmitri Shostakovich
1st movement from Symphony No.5 in D Minor, Op.47

Harry Sdraulig

Ludwig van Beethoven
Finale from Symphony No.5, Op.67