The Mariinsky's Shostakovich cycle has been an internationally acclaimed project, conducted by the foremost interpreter of our time. Symphony No 9 is a deeply powerful composition in which Shostakovich delivered a work that was 'Haydn-like in its proportions and Rossini-like in its wit.' (Timothy Day). Through the symphony Shostakovich unmasked the truth behind the ideology and pomp of the officials. The people in power saw this symphony as a calculated provocation and made the composer's life almost unbearable, and Shostakovich would not premiere another symphony until the death of his oppressor, Stalin, in 1953.
This symphony is coupled with the late, dark and introspective Violin Concerto No 1, performed here by Leonidas Kavakos, who was awarded Gramophone's Artist of the Year 2014. Kavakos is recognised throughout the world as an artist of rare quality, known at the highest level for his virtuoso skills, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing.