Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 5 in D minor at a time of great tension in Soviet Russia. The looming threat of World War II was nothing compared to the Great Purge being conducted by Joseph Stalin in which 1,000 people were executed each day. Shostakovich too felt he was in the crosshairs for his previous “subversive” works.

And so it was something of a musical miracle that his Symphony No. 5 was unanimously well received by both the government and survivors of their brutality alike. Still today conductors and their orchestras struggle to properly capture all of the emotions such as irony, sympathy, and pride that Shostakovich may or may not have intentionally layered in this rich piece.

Taking a crack at it here are the kids of Isesaki Asuka Primary School’s kindergarten class.  To see whether they succeed is up to you, but I think we can all agree that they’re not just good for a kindergarten class – they’re just good.

In the video the kids perform the fourth and final movement of the symphony. If you’re not familiar with it you may want to listen to it being performed by a professional orchestra first. However, bear in mind that each performance runs about 10 minutes long, so you may want to skip ahead if you don’t have the time to invest.

And now here are the children. This video was originally posted on YouTube back in 2013 by a city councilman of Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture where the children live.

There is a noticeable difference in sound largely due to the substitution of instruments. In the kids performance the pianica, a plastic piano that you blow into, plays a rather large role. However, the discipline that these little kids show is pretty amazing.

Here’s what some of the viewers had to say.

“I could feel their sense of balance get better as they played.”
“After listening to Shostakovich, this is perfect. I stand up and say ‘Bravo!'”
“In one word: Amazing! I would love to meet the teacher of this class!”
“In a group of children so young, you might find a couple with talent, but it’s amazing that everyone here is spot-on.”
“The final part was especially magnificent.”

As the final commenter said, the ending is really worth sticking around for. Given the length of the song you might think you’ve got the idea and want to bail after a minute or so, but in doing so you’d be missing the best parts.

In the beginning they sound rather rough. It seems as though their volume levels are a little off, but their timing is still unbelievably tight for an entire class of pre-schoolers. Also, as another commenter pointed out, you can easily sense them improving as they play to the point that by the end you might think you were listening to a legitimate orchestra.

The kid on the bass drum was even able to wipe his nose on his sleeve without missing a beat!

In that way it brings a whole new dimension to the movement that a highly trained group of musicians would never be able to recreate. Just one more miracle in an otherwise miraculous piece of music.

Source: YouTube – Minoru Tada, tokyo1250
Original article by Anji Tabata
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