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Cat. No. CHAN 10378 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10378 - Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9/ Two Choruses/Concerto No. 1/The Adventures of Korzinkina
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Available From: 01 April 2006
Shostakovich wrote his Ninth Symphony at the end of Soviet Russia’s ‘Great Patriotic War’ in 1945. Despite its light, ‘Haydnish’ surface features, it can be taken as perhaps one of his most caustic symphonies, playing a subtle game of fractured self-identity and parody of its models. His First Piano Concerto, in stark contrast, was composed a decade earlier, before Stalin’s puritanical distaste for ‘bourgeois formalism’ had imposed its restraining grip on the arts. The concerto was popular, light-hearted and optimistic in tone – full of joie de vivre, according to the composer – with fleeting allusions to his great predecessors as well as to popular song and jazz idioms.

At ten versts from the capital and The street is in turmoil are two choruses from The Path to October, composed by Alexander Davidenko, a member of a group of young composers fired by revolutionary enthusiasm, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. Shostakovich heard this in the late 1950s and it revived in him a sense of nostalgia for the revolutionary enthusiasm of his youth; he subsequently made this orchestral arrangement of the two choruses. The final work on this disc is The Adventures of Korzinkina, Op.59: an example of Shostakovich’s expertise in composing for film. Of the original score, now presumed lost, ten numbers were preserved in the family archives, from which Gennady Rozhdestvensky assembled this suite. As well as taking inspiration from circus stylisations (for example, a concertino tune borrowed from the Leningrad circus) Shostakovich also quotes from well-known music by Tchaikovsky and Gounod and adds a ‘straight’ orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Song of the Flea. This score, demonstrating Shostakovich the master caricaturist at work, is wonderfully performed by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.

But the Two Choruses, Op. 124, Shostakovich’s contribution to a collaborative cantata celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Revolution, are portents of greater choral outpourings to come in the 13th Symphony and the Execution of Stepan Razin. And the brief, 9-minute suite of music from the 1940 film The Adventures of Korzinkina, the composer’s Op. 59, leaves one wanting more. Perhaps when he’s done with the symphonies, Polyansky can bring us more of that under-explored corner of Shostakovich’s output.
American Record Guide

This CD centres on the lighter side of Shostakovich – or, more accurately, his lighter sides, since the styles range from the pointed neo-Classical wit of the Ninth Symphony to the Keystone Kops mayhem of the First Piano Concerto to the more genial light-music parody of the score to the cinematic comedy The Adventures of Korzinkina.
International Record Review

The Russian State Symphony Orchestra plays rousingly for Valeri Polyansky…
Classic FM on CHAN 10040X Shostakovich Cello Concertos


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