The symphony that stopped the warmain
From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:
At the midpoint of the Second World War, our parents looked to two composers for symphonies of hope and vision. Such was the excitement attending the 7th symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich that Arturo Toscanini and Leopold Stokowski almost went to war themselves for the right to conduct the American premiere (Toscanini won).
There was less fuss abroad over Vaughan Williams’s 5th, but in London it was hailed as oracular – a statement by a great artist on the spirit of his nation and its depth of confidence. The world premiere, conducted by the composer on June 24, 1943, was roared to the rafters of the Royal Albert Hall. The critic Neville Cardus called the music ‘benedictory and consoling’, a phrase that echoed in my mind as I listened to the 5th symphony’s latest recording in a state of Covid siege….
Read on here.
And in French.