Symphony No. 5 (Glazunov)

The Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 55 (also known as The Heroic), was written by Alexander Glazunov from April to October 1895. Although in this symphony Glazunov returned to his conventional four-movement layout (his Fourth Symphony had only three) he frequently utilizes thematic transformation. Glazunov described it as "silenced sounds" and "an architectural poem".


The symphony calls for a romantic orchestra of the following instruments:

3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 3 clarinets in B flat (3rd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, bass drum, bells, harp, strings


The symphony has four movements:

  1. Moderato maestoso - Allegro
  2. Scherzo
  3. Andante
  4. Allegro maestoso - Animato


Glazunov dedicated his Fifth to Sergei Taneyev, a Russian composer, pianist, and teacher, and it was first performed at the Second Russian Concert at the Hall of the Nobility in St. Petersburg on 17 November 1896; the premiere was conducted by the composer himself. A Leipzig newspaper called the symphony "very profound" and "sparkling" and reported that the scherzo had to be reprised on opening night to the delight of the audience.

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