It was in his music that Shostakovich expressed his thoughts and feelings about the radically evolving political landscape of the 20th century. Bolshevism and Stalin’s subsequent inheritance of the USSR promulgated a refashion of the arts, forcing Shostakovich to be an instrument of the state in order to avoid being a victim. It was during Hitler’s Siege of Leningrad where Shostakovich, ironically, did not feel like a victim, but the custodian of a powerful weapon that dared to defy forces beyond his comprehension. In response to Hitler’s Bolshevik crusade, Shostakovich would launch an ideological crusade of his own, composed through the medium of a symphony.

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