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As with most 'Soviet Jazz' of this period, there's not much jazz here, more a feeling of operetta and cabaret music and also of Jewish songs (which Shostakovich loved). And somehow, as so often with this particular composer's light music, there is always an undertow of depth and darkness, of real sadness and foreboding underlying the sentimentality and parody.
The three short movements seem designed as effective dance-numbers and are also the right length for a 78rpm gramophone record. The lilting Waltz and the extremely cheeky Polka subsequently found their way into orchestral guise in some of Shostakovich's later ballet music. But the finest movement is undoubtedly the alternatively menacing and hilarious Foxtrot, subtitled Blues; it is worth noticing that it is neither a foxtrot nor a blues.
from notes by Gerard McBurney © 2004
|Shostakovich: Hypothetically Murdered & other works|
For Shostakovich the six years which span this recording (1931-1937) were a period of almost incredibly change and upheaval. It was at this time that the young man faced his first serious political difficulties which culminated in the terrors of 1 ...» More