ClassicsOnline Home » SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Girl Friends / Rule, Britannia / Salute to Spain (Polish Radio Symphony, Fitz-Gerald) > Review List



SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Girl Friends / Rule, Britannia / Salute to Spain (Polish Radio Symphony, Fitz-Gerald)

Composer(s):Shostakovich, Dmitry
Artist(s)
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Film and TV Music • Orchestral
Catalogue 8.572138
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
 
 
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8.572138
 


This treasure trove of Shostakovich rarities presents four world première recordings. The music for the film The Girlfriends, newly reconstructed from various original sources including the 1934 soundtrack and a number of recently discovered Preludes, and the scores for the stage productions of Salute to Spain and Rule, Britannia!, come from one of the most fertile and brilliant periods of the composer’s creative life and are almost completely unknown. The unfinished symphonic movement from 1945, that had lain hidden for more than half a century, turns out to be Shostakovich’s first idea for his Ninth Symphony. Described by DSCH Journal as ‘one of the indispensable Shostakovich interpreters of our

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Review By Nate,The Exhaustive Shostakovich,December 2010

Lev Arnshtam’s Girlfriends is another of Shostakovich’s early film collaborations available in its un-subtitled entirety on the Internet but I opted instead for the music without images, because I want to get to know Mark Fitz-Gerald’s disc and, with Love and Hatred and Maxim’s Youth in recent memory and still more films (the rest of the Maxim Trilogy!) looming ahead, I want to pace myself on the intriguing but also sort of tiresome act of watching a propagandistic, somewhat dated, frequently incomprehensible movie in discrete and sometimes slow-to-download chunks. Actually, between Maxim’s Youth and Girlfriends I may have picked the wrong one to watch in full, as this score—largely reconstructed

I’ll eventually need to watch the film, too, to take in the contrast between the vintage recording of the score and Fitz-Gerald’s thoroughly contemporary, clean-lined account. Based on the past films I’ve watched there’s a lot of charm in that older, warblier sound, but my tastes in vocal music are very much a product of my times, I think, and I appreciate the lucid, filigree-free (and, certainly, well engineered) solo and ensemble singing on the Naxos album:

Our enemy did not mock you,
At your death you were surrounded
By your own people, and we,
Your friends, closed your eagle eyes.

That excerpt (text translated by Anastasia Belina) comes from the revolutionary song “Tormented by a Lack of Freedom”, one of a couple such numbers that Shostakovich incorporated into the Girlfriends score and, notably for Shostakovich theme-spotters, one he much later worked into the emotionally searing medley of his eighth quartet. The film score actually has a more direct relationship to his string quartet writing: Music from the 1938 first quartet serves as the movie’s introduction, which seems uncanny until you read in the booklet essay (by John Riley, he of the ever-helpful film handbook) that the usage dates from a 1960s restoration. There is original quartet music in the film, though, sometimes augmented by other instruments, and it presents a view of the composer’s emerging more....


Review By David Denton, Naxos,May 2009

Composed at much the same time as the notorious public condemnation of his opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Shostakovich’s radical thinking was also much evident in the film score for Podrugi (The Girlfriends). The film relates the story of three girls who grew up to be nurses in the Civil War and was a piece of Communist ideology. The score is unusual in its use of chamber music cameos, the opening titles set against a backdrop of a section from his First String Quartet. The total of twenty-two tracks plays for over forty-six minutes, and apart from music that was to exist in other formats, the disc’s conductor, Mark Fitz-Gerald, has had the painstaking task of transcribing fifteen of the movements by listening to the film soundtrack.

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