This video is called Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 in C major – Gergiev / Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra.
Review by Alex Miller in Australia:
A complex socialist composer
Shostakovich: A Life
By Laurel E. Fay
Oxford University Press, 2005
458 pages, $47.95 (pb)
Dmitriy Shostakovich (1906 — 1975) is regarded by many as the greatest composer of the 20th Century.
At the time of his death in 1975, Shostakovich was regarded as the “official face” of Soviet music: he frequently represented the Soviet Union abroad, was a member of the Communist Party and deputy to the Supreme Soviet, and had honours such as “Hero of Socialist Labour” and the “Order of Lenin” bestowed on him by the Soviet regime.
Shostakovich: A Life steers a careful course between this official Soviet view of Shostakovich and other accounts released after his death — finding that the truth about this intensely private person is significantly more complex than either of them suggests. …
The early chapters in the book give a vivid picture of the intense creative energy released in Russia by the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Shostakovich’s earliest works — including his popular and acclaimed First Symphony — were produced in the explosion of artistic talent in the decade that followed. …
Following Shostakovich’s partial rehabilitation after the Fifth Symphony, he found himself in besieged Leningrad after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. He applied twice to serve at the front, but was rejected on each occasion.
While beginning the composition of his Seventh Symphony, he worked as a fireman in the starving and bombarded city, until he was evacuated to Kuybishev on the order of the government.
In one of the great propaganda coups of the war, the score of the completed Seventh Symphony was flown into still-besieged Leningrad and performed by the half-starved Leningrad Radio Orchestra in August 1942.
As psychological warfare, the performance was broadcast on loudspeakers to the German troops stalled on the edge of the city, and the Seventh Symphony quickly became an international symbol of resistance to fascism.
Shostakovich dedicated the work “to our struggle with fascism, to our coming victory over the enemy, and to my native city, Leningrad”. The Seventh Symphony is still referred to today as the “Leningrad Symphony”.