Shostakovich was the Beethoven of the XXth century. Lived through horrible age, in the midst of Stalinist terror and also saw the II. WW. His work reflected the horrors, terror and fear of his age. Sometimes he used double speech and referred not only the tremendous crimes committed by one revolutionary regime, but the other one also. This particular symphony is about the crimes committed by the Nazis against Jewish people. Today is the day of remembering on Holocaust, the day when the Auschwitz camp was liberated in 1945. Be here the magnificient work of Shostakovich for this occasion.
While Shostakovich was indeed a major composer of the 20th century( whose music I enjoy BTW)
I disagree about the "Shostakovich was the Beethoven of the XXth century" analogy.
Shostakovich's accomplishments, stature and influence simply do not measure up to Beethoven IMO.