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In the summer of 1937 – during the dangerous time of Stalin's Great Terror – Shostakovich completed his Symphony No. 5. The Pravda article "Muddle Instead of Music" from January 1936, which condemned the composer and his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, resulted in Shostakovich fearing for his life for years. He withdrew his experimental Symphony No. 4 shortly before its premiere – and then presented a work in his Fifth that on the surface met all the demands of the imposed Socialist Realism. One critic even characterised the new symphony as "the creative response of a Soviet artist to justified criticism" – a paraphrase that Shostakovich subtly subverted in this work with its allusive ambiguity.

This volume is part of the revised and corrected new edition of all 15 symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich published by Boosey & Hawkes and Sikorski as large format study scores for optimal legibility. All scores and the related orchestral parts have been newly computer typeset, and the orchestral parts are also compatible for performance use with scores in ‘The New Collected Works of Dmitri Shostakovich’.


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