Golden Age Op. 22 the (Compl
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|2. Procession Of The Guests Of Honour|
|3. Inspection Of The Display Windows|
|4. Demonstration Of 'Important' Exhibits. Appearance Of The Soviet Football Team|
|5. Magician-Advertising Agent. Dance Of The 'Hindu'|
|6. Boxing As An Advertising Stunt|
|7. Scandal During The Boxing Match. Entrance Of The Police|
|8. Dance Of The Golden Youths|
|9. Dance Of Diva (Adagio)|
|10. Appearance Of The Soviet Football Team And Diva's Variations|
See all 22 tracks on this disc
|1. Intermezzo 'Everybody Amuses Oneself In One's Own Way'|
|2. Dance Of The Western Komsomol Girl And Four Sportsmen|
|3. Sports Contests. Joint Sports Dance|
|4. Scene And Exit Of The Soviet Team|
|5. Entr'acte 'Tea For Two'|
|6. Chechotka (Tap-dance): 'Shoe Shine Of The Highest Grade'|
|8. Polka: Once Upon A Time In Geneva-'Angel Of Peace'|
|9. The Touching Coalition Of The Classes, Slightly Fraudulent|
|10. Entrance Of Diva And The Fascist; Their Dance|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
The three full-length ballet scores that Dmitry Shostakovich wrote between 1925 and 1935 remain among his least known works. The Golden Age revolves around the visit of a Soviet football team to a Western city at the time of an industrial exhibition, onl
Top Customer Reviews
Fortunately, the ballet music works perfectly well as a stand-alone work. The present recording presents the work in its final form as approved by Shostakovich; we are told (but I have not been able to verify this) that this is the first such complete recording. José Serebrier certainly has the measure of the music. He dives right in and gives us almost 2 1/2 hours of sparkling vintage Shostakovich. Most familiar, of course, is the 'Polka' (subtitled 'Once Upon a Time in Geneva') from Act III.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I wish I could second the other reviewers in calling this very long ballet a thrilling romp. To my ears, though, there's a lot of musical wallpaper and banal writing. Nor does Serebrier's conducting catch fire until No. 8, the opening numbers sounding routine and flat. Shostakovich put together his best jazzy incidental music into two Jazz Suites that are consistently better than this work. But it's good to have a complete recording of a major Shostakovich ballet--the other two being The Bolt and The Limpid Stream--in excellent sound at a relatively low price.
Fortunately, the ballet music works perfectly well as a stand-alone work. The present recording presents the work in its final form as approved by Shostakovich; we are told (but I have not been able to verify this) that this is the first such complete recording. José Serebrier certainly has the measure of the music. He dives right in and gives us almost 2 1/2 hours of sparkling vintage Shostakovich. Most familiar, of course, is the 'Polka' (subtitled 'Once Upon a Time in Geneva') from Act III. This two minute piece is surely one of Shostakovich's most familiar works, having been transcribed for all manner of ensembles. It was the very first music I ever heard by Shostakovich, back in the 1940s, when the composer was so poorly known in the US that the musician who introduced me to it pronounced the composer's name as ShosTOCKovich. I remember being absolutely charmed, and a little puzzled, by the composer's wrong-note style and ebullient rhythms. Another excerpt from the ballet is the somewhat less familiar arrangement of Vincent Youman's 'Tea for Two' that Shostakovich called 'Tahiti Trot.'
Most of the music in the ballet goes at a fairly fast tempo and Serebrier makes the most of this, moving the many short individual pieces right along. The result of this is that the ballet comes across as cheeky, satirical, good-humored and endlessly inventive. Frankly the only passage that I thought fell a little flat (and I suspect this is more the fault of the composer than the present performance) is the ten-minute section in Act I called 'Dance of the Diva.' On the other hand, there are so many delightful sections that the diva's adagio is soon forgotten. For instance, there is 'The Supposed Terrorist', which features a flexatone in an oily waltz, or 'The Football Match' which begins with a referee blowing an actual whistle and which depicts the Soviet team mopping up the playing field with their opponents, or the sly 'Everybody amuses oneself in one's own way' in Shostakovich's trademark side-slipping harmonies. The entire Scene 5 of Act III, called 'Music Hall Divertissement' (and which contains the 'Polka' as well as a Tap-Dance, a Tango and rumbustious Can Can) is too delicious for words. The ballet ends with the Soviet system triumphing over that of Western capitalism, but one can hear in the orchestra that the triumph is overtinged with bombast and wishful thinking.
Serebrier and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra cannot be praised highly enough. This is a superior performance with vitality and just the right touch of sly humor. They are given lifelike sound by producer Tim Oldham and engineer Phil Rowlands. I was also delighted to find the names of all the RSNO players listed in the CD's booklet; they deserve the recognition.
This is definitely a set to grab.