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Kurt Sanderling on Shostakovich’s wavelength

One of the key symphonies by one of the most important composers of the 20th century – the Fifth Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich is a symphonic masterpiece that is of undiminished relevance today. In its interpretation by Kurt Sanderling, it found a congenial realization whose validity was acknowledged by the composer himself.
Barbara Sanderling, BSO double-bassist from 1961 to 1986 and the conductor’s wife, notes that the Fifth Symphony was “part of his life” in a very special way. Kurt Sanderling had conducted the first revival of the work after the renewed “ostracism” (of Shostakovich’s music) of 1948. He conducted the BSO in the symphony for the first time in October 1961 and kept it in the repertory for over twenty years before the recording sessions documented here took place. Miss Sanderling remembers how her husband as principal conductor – drawing on the “bonus of age and experience given him by his life and career” – developed an unbelievable understanding of this music. It was providential that Shostakovich “expressly confirmed what Kurt Sanderling had read into the music.”

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