Shostakovich Film Music Volume 5

April 11, 2011

I have always looked forward to any release of Shostakovich film material and the five volumes offered in the last year by Delos are heavenly dessert to me! This latest volume features four films from the years (1931-1941) including a children’s opera. This CD like the previous four (review links provided) are remastered from the 1997 Russian Disc series. Russian musicians playing Shostakovich is usually the best to listen to him and this is no exception. With further volumes on the way this series will be by far the most complete collection of Shostakovich film scores.

Golden Hills, Op. 30a, also known as ‘Golden Mountains, was the very first sound film that Shostakovich composed for and his first effort should be applauded. The premiere showing of the film in the only Russian theater equipped to handle a sound movie was nothing short of a disaster as apparently the projector didn’t work correctly and the soundtrack played slowly creating a distorted warbled sound. The six tracks are a suite created by Shostakovich (the reason for the (a) after the 30) of twenty two minutes. To my knowledge there is no original soundtrack material. The “Introduction” is a brief fanfare with trumpets that lead to the “Waltz” which features a first for Dimitri, a Hawaiian Guitar quite unusual for a Russian piece, but extremely effective. I’m sure that Stalin didn’t approve as the film was taken away from any public viewing even though it applauded initially. It was released again in 1936 with 1/3 being cut, part of which was the fugue but included in this recording. The song “If Only I Had Mountains of Gold” was never part of the suite that Dimitri created even though it was an important part of the film. The “Fugue,” performed on the organ, is a first and also for Shostakovich and it is a good one with Alexander Nazarik performing it. After the initial solo the orchestra complements the organ. “Intermezzo” is a dark and menacing track which sounds like it could easily belong in a film such as Alien. The last two tracks “Funeral March” and “Finale is performed without pause between and could easily have been a single track. It is very stoic solemn material.

The Tale of the Priest and His Worker Balda, Op. 36 (1933-1936) was the first animated film Shostakovich scored and the music definitely reflects it. The lack of strings and the mocking trombone set the stage for this somewhat comical score. While primarily a very brass oriented work the track “Dream” features a somewhat cool jazz tenor saxophone with bass. One could see Stan Getz performing such a work with improvisation. The works ends with the sliding blaring trombone as it began.

Adventures of Korzinka (A Ticket to the Fifth Zone 1940-1941) is a short story about a ticket taker. The suite was created by the Russian conductor Rozhdestvensky. It features a “The Chase,” a very Chaplin like track for duo piano, a comical tuba, and a very pleasant choral track to the end the score. Although only ten minutes in length this work is quite pleasant and a wonderful departure to what you’re use to listening to.

The Silly Little Mouse” is an all too brief one-act animated lullaby opera for children with a pig, mouse, duck, cat, and dog which was recently discovered by conductor Mnatsakanov and given a world premiere on this CD arranged by Boris Tiles. This is a very upbeat, cheerful, and lyrical piece that includes the English translation of the Russian in the liner notes.

This recording is well rehearsed, performed, recorded, and remastered for a pleasant listening experience. As with the other four volumes it is one to add to your collection. Recommended.

Delos #DRD2005

Track Listing:

1. I. Introduction: Moderato (01:16)

2. II. Waltz: Andante (05:31)

3. III. Fugue: Largo – Allegro (06:41)

4. IV. Intermezzo: Andante (04:12)

5. V. Funeral March: Largo (02:09)

6. VI. Finale: Largo (02:07)

1-6. Zlatiye gori (Golden mountains) Suite, Op. 30a

7. I. Ouverture (01:36)

8. II. Aufmarsch der Finsterlinge (The Procession of the Obscurantist) (01:50)

9. III. Carousel (01:44)

10. IV. Scene at the Bazaar (01:16)

11. V. Balda’s Dialogue (03:49)

12. VI. The Priest’s Daughter’s Dream (02:50)

13. VII. Finale (01:41)

7-13. The Tale of the Priest and his Servant Balda Suite, Op. 36

14. I. Overture (00:35)

15. II. March (02:04)

16. III. The Chase (02:54)

17. IV. Music at the Restaurant (03:02)

18. V. Finale: [Yanya] (01:36)

14-18. The Adventures of Korzinkina, Op. 59

19. Glupiy mishonok (The Silly Little Mouse), Op. 56 (15:21)

Total Duration: 01:02:14


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: