The first of our new online projects is Music for Peace, including an ambitious 20-minute ‘virtual orchestra’ performance of an excerpt from the first movement of Shostakovich’s epic Seventh Symphony, the ‘Leningrad’. This project has been produced in collaboration with the Open Sea Foundation to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and will premiere online on 8 May. In place of a live Baltic Sea Philharmonic concert performance of the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony that was originally set to take place at the Berlin Konzerthaus on 9 May, the new digital production of Music for Peace brings together sound and video recordings made by 108 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in their own homes.
Shostakovich completed his epic Seventh Symphony in December 1941, having been evacuated from his beloved home city of Leningrad, which was under siege by Nazi forces. A microfilm of the score was smuggled out of Russia and the symphony quickly became popular in the Soviet Union and the West as a symbol of freedom and defiance in the face of military oppression and occupation. The symphony was heroically performed in Leningrad amid the direst of conditions on 9 August 1942. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new recording of Shostakovich’s music brings together musicians from 18 countries, both in the Nordic region and elsewhere across the world, and carries with it a message of peace, strength and solidarity at a time when so many millions of people are under lockdown.