Out of favour, then in favour, then out of favour again, Shostakovich is probably the most famous composer to have been so beset in his career by political angst and expectation. With Stalin as the curtain-twitcher, it’s surprising Shostakovich was able to get anything made with an authentic voice. At tonight’s Prom 18 though, this heavenly composer needn’t have worried about upsetting anyone.

Under the technically brilliant (if not sometimes perhaps too lively) baton of conductor Alpesh Chauhan, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra delivered all four movements of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor with aplomb: the first movement alone gave cause for applause between movements, whilst the second’s echoes of the raucous soviet machine – pompous brass, bombastic percussion and staccato reeds – rang out like a nationalist’s dream. A fanfare for the powerful.

The third movement gave way to mystery with a particular moment of note, where the first violins played so delicately you could barely hear them, nor a pin drop. The fourth came as expected with all the drama of an impending war; tightly woven, swift melodies were set against more deep brass and thumping drums, crescendoing with the famous finale of razor strings which seemed to play as if sawing their instrument in two, repeating the action seemingly endlessly until at last they release.

A contemporary percussion concerto from Nicole Lizée (more appreciated than liked), and a rather bland arrangement of a Bruckner string quintet, made for an unusual preamble. But the main event really was the man from Russia.

Tickets for all 72 Proms are available from just £7.12 on the BBC Proms 2022 website.

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