Described as being one of his most important utterances, Shostakovichs Symphony No. 5 was written as a response to the sinister unsigned article which appeared in Pravda, the state newspaper, in January 1936, denouncing the composer and implying the ultimate threat, during the time of Stalins Great Terror. Whilst the messages of the Symphony have been subject to a variety of often conflicting interpretations, the music and vivid orchestral writing, to which the Halle live performance fully attests, have earned it a leading place in the composers legacy. In coupling the Symphony with the Four Romances which immediately pre-date it, Elder sheds light on his interpretation of the meaning of the Symphony. The latter work quotes thematic material used in the first of the Pushkin settings in which faith is expressed that art can survive even the most brutal oppression and desecration, perhaps revealing an element of pride that the composer had been true to his art in the face of state threats. James Platt is one of the leading British singers of his generation who frequently appears in the major opera houses across Europe and in concert performances with leading international ensembles and conductors.