Near the denouement of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced a cultural thaw, allowing some degree of freedom of expression among artists and writers. Yevgeny Yevtushenko responded with his poem, Babi Yar, lambasting the regime's distortion of the story of the World War II massacre in Ukraine, as well as a continuing and pervasive Russian anti-Semitism thereafter. Dmitri Shostakovich then set Babi Yar to music, along with four other scathing Yevtushenko poems, and premiered the work as his Symphony No. 13 in 1962. This was more than Khrushchev had bargained for, and Kremlin authorities were not pleased. Long suppressed in the Eastern bloc. the Babi Yar Symphony is our featured work this Thursday.