Renowned Austrian conductor Hans Graf takes on two key masterworks which were created in the midst of adversity. Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 was completed in 1948, around the time the composer was rapidly losing favour with the Soviet authorities for his nationalistic musical ideals. The hostile environment as well as the rounds of revisions made to the work resulted in its being premiered only in 1955. Despite its having been composed during a dark period in Beethoven’s life as his hearing progressively deteriorated, the Seventh Symphony contains hardly any indication of sadness or depression, and, indeed, confused early audiences with its many affirmative, dance-like elements.