Shostakovich was genuinely trying to break new ground but had been sharply brought into line (viz. the edict issued against his opera Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk). His 5th Symphony seems to cast doubt on the Marxist purity of the Party in power. He conveys his rage in unexpectedly neo-Mahlerian style, but concludes with politically correct optimism. A quarter of a century later he produced The Year 1917, a skilfully produced commission which sounds like a film score, Even today Mravinsky is still the most effective interpreter of this contradictory diptych, capable of rendering both its intrinsic power and resounding ambiguities.
PRD/DSD 350 122