ANDRE KOSTELANETZ PLAYS THE LIGHT MUSIC OF SHOSTAKOVICH
GALOP from “MOSCOW, CHEREMUSHKI”, Op. 105 POLKA from “BALLET SUITE NO. 2” BARREL-ORGAN WALTZ from “THE GADFLY”, Op. 97a GALOP from “BALLET SUITE NO. 1” NOCTURNE from the film “THE GADFLY” Op. 97a (Solo cello : Harvey Schapiro) DANCE; OVERTURE-WALTZ; WALTZ FROM ACT III of “MOSCOW, CHEREMUSHKI”, Op. 105
FOLK FESTIVAL from “THE GADFLY”, Op. 97a MUSIC BOX WALTZ from “BALLET SUITE NO. 1” GALOP from “THE GADFLY”, Op. 97a DANCE from “BALLET SUITE NO 1” INTRODUCTION from “THE GADFLY”, Op. 97a GALOP from “BALLET SUITE NO. 2”
In his search for appropriate works for his Promenade Concerts at New York’s Philharmonic Hall, André Kostelanetz has uncovered some delectable and hitherto neglected music. One of the most surprising sources for Kostelanetz has been the works of Dimitri Shostakovich. A stormy composer with a turbulent career, Shostakovich has always evidenced a strong satiric vein. But it is surprising to find among the works of this essentially dramatic composer a series of glittering galops, whirl-wind waltzes and perky polkas that are so breezy and delightful.
Mr. Kostelanetz begins this journey into the lighter world of Shostakovich with the colourful, folk-like Galop from the great musical comedy success Moscow, Cheremushki, and it is immediately apparent that Russian musicals are in no way like our own, being more or less a series of variety turns strung together on a slender thread of story. Nevertheless, the music blazes forth with irresistible—and typical—Russian vitality. Next comes a strongly rhythmic and playful Polka from the Ballet Suite No. 2, and then the Barrel-Organ Waltz, a lilting and wistful selection from the film The Gadfly. (If proof is needed of Shostakovich’s versatility, let it be noted that he also composed the score for the recent Soviet film version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.) A brash and exhilarating Galop from the Ballet Suite No. 1 provides an interval of orchestral virtuosity. Then Harvey Schapiro appears as solo cellist in another piece from The Gadfly, a soulful and melancholy Nocturne that is at once expansive and intimate, archetypically Russian. Mr. Kostelanetz concludes the first half of his programme with three fragments from Moscow, Cheremushki; a satiric Dance, the joyously lighthearted Overture-Waltz and the swirling Waltz from Act III.
This exuberant concert continues with the Folk Festival from The Gadfly, a frisky blending of jaunty tunes, which is followed by another selection from the Ballet Suite No. 1, a Music Box Waltz that is as charming and humorous as its name implies. Then The Gadfly buzzes back with a dashing and gusty Galop.
A rather romantic Dance from the Ballet Suite No. 1 comes next, and consists of two cheerful pizzicato sections surrounding music that seems designed for pirouettes. In a final glimpse of The Gadfly we hear the Introduction, a lovely, brooding, incomparably Russian melody. Then Mr. Kostelanetz concludes his sunny Shostakovich survey with the Galop from Ballet Suite No. 2, a fiery rouser with those irresistible snare-drum effects that are so integral a part of exciting music.
Thus André Kostelanetz brings us to the end of his thesis that Shostakovich can be fun. Like every Kostelanetz programme, it is conducted and played with lively virtuosity and with an eye to orchestral fireworks. This time, his selections are mostly all skyrockets, and André Kostelanetz makes sure that each one lights up the sky.
Label: CBS Classics 61220