The Concertgebouw Orchestra under Andris Nelsons performs Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, an ambiguously uplifting piece. You can also watch the performance with commentary by Henk Rubingh and Kersten McCall.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 seemed to provide exactly the positive, heroic and uplifting music that the Soviet state demanded: serious moments alternate with playful ones and the work’s drama culminates in a celebratory final movement. But its atmosphere and expression are so indefinable and ambiguous that it could not be regarded simply as a courteous salute to those in power. In his Fifth Symphony, Shostakovich not only proved his compositorial skills but also his talent to speak to friend and foe alike. You can also watch the performance with commentary by the musicians Henk Rubingh and Kersten McCall, but it is in Dutch.
Andris Nelsons made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2008 and now conducts the orchestra regularly. Having conducted the North West German Philharmonic, the Latvian National Opera and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons currently is music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.