Jaap van Zweden and the Gstaad Festival Orchestra
Gstaad Festival Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, Conductor
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70
Recorded live on 12 August 2023 at the Gstaad Festival Tent
With this second summer programme, the Gstaad Festival Gstaad continues its quest for symphonic masterpieces initiated at its launch in 2014. Conducted by Jaap van Zweden, it tackles one of Shostakovich’s famous “war” symphonies, the Ninth, written in the turmoil of the collapse of the Third Reich and the celebrations of the most costly victory in Russian history. A work which, in the eyes of Comrade Stalin, should have taken the form of a gigantic monument to the victorious nation, but which finally is not even half an hour long, less than half that of the Seventh (which bears witness to the invasion of the country at the end of 1941) and the Eighth (evoking the siege of Leningrad in the midst of the horror). Much lighter in form and instrumentation than the previous two, it indeed chooses to evoke the relief of the people’s soldier who can finally return home, rather than the heroism of the Red Army overcoming the Wehrmacht, a disguised – but no less courageous – way of condemning the omnipotence of Stalinist militarism.