I’ve been enjoying the the “13 Days When Music Changed Forever” radio program broadcast each Saturday night at 9pm on KQED. Tonight’s topic was the story of Shostakovich and the reaction of the Stalin regime to his opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.” After the opera was condemned in an anonymous article in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, Shostakovich began the perilous balancing act of attempting to please the Soviet authorities while maintaining his artistic relevance. This frightening atmosphere forms the backdrop for the creation of his famous 5th Symphony. Until the the radio program is available in streaming audio, here’s a link to the episode of Keeping Score that focuses on Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. I love the way the opening grabs you! It’s the definition of ominous.