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Reef Television for BBC2

A moving account of the extraordinary concert that took place during one of the deadliest chapters of the Second World War

An exemplary story of how the human spirit can triumph over unspeakable terror

In August 1942 a concert took place in Leningrad that defies belief. A year earlier the Germans had begun the deadliest siege in history which would kill three quarters of a million civilians. Now, a group of starving musicians assembled to perform Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony in what would become a defiant moment in the city’s ultimate survival.

Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service reveal the extraordinary story of triumph of the human spirit over unspeakable terror. Amanda shows how Leningrad was simultaneously persecuted by Stalin and Hitler, the twin monsters of the 20th century, whilst Tom explores the thin line walked by Dmitri Shostakovich as the composer came perilously close to becoming a victim of Stalin’s paranoia.

Filmed entirely on location in St Petersburg, the story is interwoven with excerpts of the Symphony performed by the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maxim Shostakovich, the composer’s son.

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