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Copland Inscape Britten Symphony for Cello and Orchestra Shostakovich Symphony No 5
Michael Tilson Thomas conductor Yo-Yo Ma cello London Symphony Orchestra
Cellist Peter Wispelway describes the opening scene of Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra as ‘practically a war zone’ for all its deep, dark orchestral colours. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony formed the composer’s ostensibly sincere apology to the Soviet government after he found himself branded an ‘enemy of the people’. At the symphony’s premiere Shostakovich noticed that some of the audience were weeping and he knew then that ‘they understood what was happening around them and they understood what the Fifth was about’.