This release will confirm the excitement by Shostakovich fans, who have been waiting with anticipation since Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony’s Delos CD of Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony debuted a little over two years ago – that release garnered rave reviews from major press and radio, a highlight being a review on NPR. Maestro Litton again tackles the complexity of Shostakovich with the sure vision and technical brilliance with which he and the Dallas Symphony became synonymous. As an added bonus, Maestro Litton is the piano soloist for the Piano Concerto No. 2. The Fifth Symphony, finished by Shostakovich in 1937, is probably the most frequently performed of his symphonies, and it’s easy to understand why. In it we hear the essence of Shostakovich’s symphonic personality – it was with the Fifth that he returned to a traditional standard-sized orchestra and four clearly-organized movements, convinced at the time of the need for firm structure in symphonic writing. The Second Piano Concerto showcases a lighter side of Shostakovich: the orchestra is chamber-sized, and the music exhibits a youthful spirit and irrepressible energy. This may be in part because Shostakovich composed this work for his 19-year-old son Maxim, to be performed and conducted by him to secure admission to the Moscow Conservatory. As an added treat, the program is rounded out by the ever-popular Festive Overture, a work well-known for its fanfares, added brass and unrestrained optimism.