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Prokofiev Symphony No. 5

In recent years, Daniel Blendulf has established himself as one of Sweden’s most high-profile conductors. Here, he leads the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in one of Prokofiev’s most popular and frequently played pieces: the Fifth Symphony.

Prokofiev composed his Fifth Symphony over the course of a month in the summer of 1944. The war ravaged Europe, but Prokofiev felt safe in the house in Ivanovo just east of Moscow, which the Russian state had made available for musicians and composers. He could work in peace and quiet there, with no sense of the ongoing war, and he socialised with other artists and exchanged ideas.

He has said that this symphony is a tribute to the “generosity, strength and spiritual purity of the free and happy individual.” He felt at that time like a chosen and privileged person. He had been happily married for four years to his second wife and was one of the country’s most esteemed and frequently played composers. But perhaps Prokofiev sensed the wicked period that would soon come to his homeland of the Soviet Union. The clear-cut yet playful and rapid movements have a strong counterweight in the slow third movement, where underlying anxiety and fear scratch at the surface. After the war ended, the antagonism between east and west escalated, and the Cold War was a fact. 

  • The music

  • Sergei Prokofiev Symphony No. 5
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Daniel Blendulf conductor
  • Filmed in May 2013.
  • The video is approximately 45 minutes.