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Cat. No. CHAN 9907 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9907 - Shostakovich: Theatre Music for Piano
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Available From: 17 April 2001
During his lifetime Shostakovich’s worldwide reputation was founded essentially on his symphonies, concertos and vocal-instrumental chamber music. The busy and amazingly prolific theatre composer he had been in the early thirties was transformed into a symphonic soothsayer, a latter-day Beethoven whose earlier career had started out in the wrong direction. This is not to say the theatre music of Shostakovich had been totally ignored. For example, piano arrangements of various excerpts were from time to time made for publication in the form of suites, some of which found favour as ‘accessible’ light music during the period following the composer’s second fall from grace in 1948. But to bring together a representative collection of this music in its original format, using the piano arrangements made by the composer or his licensed colleagues, was a project not undertaken in Soviet Russia until 1977, two years after his death, when Sovetskii Kompositor issued a volume entitled Shostakovich: Music to Plays.

It is timely to welcome a substantial issue of this hitherto fragmented repertoire – especially in these brilliant and affectionate performances – as the pieces might have been played over by Shostakovich himself in the preliminary stages of a theatre production; placed alongside his better-known music for solo piano they form a welcome addition. Here is a wealth of piano miniatures: epigrammatic character pieces that can take on a life of their own independent of their original theatre context, full of tunefulness, humour, charm and occasional unexpected depths.
Reviews

‘If this disc is anything to go by, he’s a pianist out of the ordinary: he plays every note as if he simply loves it.’
BBC Music Magazine

Rustem Hayroudinoffs fresh, intelligent and tremendously witty playing makes this a CD Id give anyone for Christmas… a breath of fresh air.
BBC Music Magazine ‘Best of 2001’

 

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