Delyana Lazarova, internationally acclaimed conductor, takes to the podium to conduct Shostakovich’s triumphantly defiant Ninth Symphony.

Ostensibly, Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony was his tribute to Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Under the surface, however, was a bold critique of Soviet leaders and the chaos ensuing even after the war ended. The final movement uses The Dance of the Bones (a favourite of Stalin’s), a sardonic signpost to the decreasing food supplies in post-war Russia at the time.

Preceding this is Lili Boulanger’s ominous setting of Psalm 130, widely believed to be a reaction to the outbreak of World War One. Delyana Lazarova, winner of the inaugural Siemens Hallé International Conductor’s Competition, directs the massed forces of the Hallé, Hallé Choir, a rising star from the RNCM and the stunning Hanna Hipp.