Shostakovich Volume 2

May 11, 2010

Written fairly early on in his career between his fourth and fifth symphonies Alone was the second film Dmitri worked on, the first being the silent film The New Babylon. Alone started as a silent film but changed gears during filming and was an early sound film from Russia. Stories were all controlled by Stalin and had to do with the party overcoming suppression or conflict from some source. This reviewer could only wonder what sort of score Shostakovich could have come up with given a screenplay of merit. It was no wonder that he didn’t like doing music for films and considered it as a source of income to put food on the table. Yet in spite of this dislike and limitations that were placed upon him his creative talent shined through.

The 71+ minute soundtrack is divided into 7 parts/29 cues, a few longer cues such as “I Altai. Andantino” is allowed full development. This cue is a wonderful one featuring the sorrowful bassoon in a long extended solo. Due to the film there are also many cues less than one minute. Two of the shorter cues are marches which get right to the theme and development, something that some of the marches I had to play in high school didn’t. They seemed to go on and on with repeat upon repeat. The song “How Good Life Will Be” followed by the chorus “Stay” is no more than propaganda pieces telling of the good communist way of life. “Organ-Grinder” is a clever composition with the hurdy gurdy beat featuring the woodwinds. “VII Adagio” uses the sliding trombone as a repetitive background to the simple melody from the woodwinds. “Windstorm” is a loud passage featuring the brass section depicting the violence of the storm.”I Allegro” makes excellent use of trumpet fanfares and percussion. The entire work is extremely creative listening, music that is unusual for a soundtrack. While I’ve never seen the film I can only imagine how his music is incorporated into it.

This is one that is going to take a series of repeated listens over a period of days for you to become comfortable with. It like the first release on Delos The Young Guard/Zola /DRD 2001 is a remastering from Russian Disc label recording from 1995. Conductor Mnatsakanov and the Byelorussian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra seem to have a good grasp on the material. Look for further releases in the summer of 2010. One worth exploring.

Track Listing:

First Part

1….IV March. The Street (Allegro) (:34)

2….VII Galop “How Good Life Will Be” (3:19)

3….IX Final Chorus “Stay” (4:30)

Second Part

4….March. Allegretto (:43)

Third Part

5….I Altai. Andantino (7:56)

6….Ia Steppe.Andante (1:06)

7….II Altai. Adagio (3:13)

8….III Kuzmina in Her Cabin. Largo (5:35)

9….VI Organ-grinder. Andantino (1:28)

Fourth Part

10..I Allegro (1:27)

11..II Largo (3:45)

12..III (Largo) (1:32)

13..VII Adagio (4:36)

14..VIII Allegro (1:29)

15.. IX Allegretto(:32)

Fifth Part

16.. I Adagio (2:58)

17..II Adagio (3:17)

18..III Allegro (3:02)

19..IV Moderato (1:47)

20..II Allegretto (2:19)

21..IIa Windstorm. Presto (2:28)

22..III Largo (1:42)

23..Finale. Largo (1:42)

Seventh Part

24..III Allegro (:11)

25..IV (Allegro) (:10)

26..V Adagio (2:57)

27..VI Andante (:48)

28..VIII Andante (:39)

29..XVII Allegro (2:00)

Total Playing Time is 71:27

Delos DRD 2002

Byelorussian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra

Walter Mnatsakanov, conductor

Minsk Chamber Choir (Director: Igor Matukhov)

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3 Responses to “Shostakovich Volume 2”


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