Symphony No.5. D. Minor.
4. Allegro non troppo
Premiere: November 21, 1937. The Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonia. Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonia. Conductor Y. Mravinsky.
Premieres abroad: June 14, 1938 in Pleyel Hall in Paris. Conductor R. Desormière.
May 1940. New York, Orchestra of the New York Philharmonia Conductor A. Rodzinsky.
Manuscripts: Whereabouts of the hand-written score unknown. In the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art there are only a few pages of the composer’s sketches arranged for piano (Stack 2048, Inv.1, Item 6).
First Edition: Score, “Muzgiz” Pubishers, Moscow, 1939.
“A long period of inner preparation preceded the birth of the Fifth Symphony. Perhaps that is why the actual work on the symphony only took a relatively short time (for example, I wrote the third part in three days) ...
The subject of this symphony is the shaping of the individual. I saw man with all his experiences as central to the idea behind this work, which is lyrical in essence from start to finish. The finale of the symphony provides an optimistic, invigorating outlet for all the tragic tensions of the earlier parts.
Sometimes the question arises here as to whether the tragic genre is legitimate at all in Soviet art. In such discussions true tragedy is often confused with a sense of doom and pessimism. In my view Soviet tragedy as a genre has every right to exist. Yet the content has to be imbued with a positive ideal, like the life-affirming pathos of Shakespearean tragedies. In musical literature there are also many pages of genius, where the stern dramatic characters of Verdi’s and Mozart’s Requiems are able to fill men’s souls not with weakness and despair but with courage and the will to struggle...”
(“Introduction to the Score of Symphony No.5” by D. Shostakovich. “Muzgiz” Publishers, Moscow, 1956).