Friday 8 May 2020

Music for Peace: Baltic Sea Philharmonic marks VE day with Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi had been due to be performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, the ‘Leningrad’ today, 8 May 2020, at Berlin's Konzerthaus, one of five simultaneous Music for Peace events across Europe marking VE Day, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. But, with the cancellation of concerts, 108 musicians from Baltic Sea Philharmonic each made their own recording at home of a 20-minute excerpt from the symphony’s first movement, and all these were then brought together with Kristjan Järvi conducting, to create a video Music for Peace.

Shostakovich completed his epic Seventh Symphony in December 1941, having been evacuated from his home city of Leningrad, which was under siege by Nazi forces. A microfilm of the score was smuggled out of Russia and the symphony quickly became popular in the Soviet Union and the West as a symbol of freedom and defiance in the face of oppression and occupation. The symphony was heroically performed in Leningrad amid the direst of conditions on 9 August 1942.

The Music for Peace video from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will debut at 2pm, 8 May 2020 (Berlin time, 1pm UK time) on the orchestra's Facebook and YouTube pages.

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