- In writing Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich had to steer a difficult course between the requirements of his political masters and his integrity as a composer.
- He was very reluctant to speak about his music, fearful that any comment would place him in political danger.
- When the Composer's Union required a presentation of Symphony No. 5 in December 1937 in order to vet it, the analysis was provided by the conductor Mravinsky, with the composor contributing only ny playing musical examples on the piano.