program notes by composition > F > Finale from Symphony No. 5

Finale from Symphony No. 5

Dmitri Shostakovich/trans. Charles B. Righter

Of the fifteen symphonies written by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Symphony No. 5 is the most performed. First performed in 1937, this work re-established Shostakovich in the good graces of the Soviet government after much criticism of his previous work, and won him a firm place among the world's first-rank composers. Because of the somewhat heroic nature of the music, the Finale is especially well-adapted to performance by the concert band. In free form, much of the movement is based on material derived from the first few notes of the opening theme of the symphony. Contrast is offered by a very angular melody played by the solo cornet and a closely related but more sustained theme in the solo horn part. The ending provides one of the most thrilling climaxes in the band repertoire, stating the main theme in augmented form over a continually more insistent rhythmic pattern.

Last updated on July 9, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band