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Shostakovich: The Girlfriends Soundtrack

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Polish Radio and Television National Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Mark Fitz-Gerald
  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (27 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0020LSWXE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,461 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Podrugi, Op. 41a
2. Prav', Britaniya, Op. 28
3. Salyut, Ispaniya, Op. 44
4. Symphonic Fragment

Product Description

CD Description

This treasure trove of Shostakovich rarities presents four world premiére 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'.


''Shostakovich's film score The Girlfriends is among Naxos' most enterprising recent releases, not least for including the tantalising torso of a very different 'ninth symphony'. Excellent direction from Mark Fitz-Gerald - a conductor we should hear more of on disc.'' --Gramophone (Richard Whitehouse, December 2009)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alano on 27 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
Not known to me until now to me, this Shostakovich score is full of wit and punch.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
splendid addition to the discography 14 Oct. 2009
By birdwalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shostakovich enthusiasts should buy this immediately. The music to The Girlfriends movie and the fragment from the first movement of an aborted start to a proposed Symphony #9 -- no relation to the existing #9 -- are echt DSCH; the other two works, Rule Britannia (name of a ship, not the anthem) and Salute to Spain are not as exciting, but no matter: they represent less than a third of the music on this CD.

Shostakovich occasionally makes reference to other composers in his compositions -- Beethoven and Rossini, for example. All these references are mentioned in liner notes and other material about the DSCH canon. In Girlfrends, however, there is an entire one minute arrangement of another composer's famous work -- and no mention in the excellent liner notes to this CD. I'm not telling you the band number, composer's name or work, because I'm hoping a knowledgeable reader will confirm my identification of the work by commenting on this website. Happy hunting!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Mainly for ardent fans, though the playing is good and there are some interesting parts here 13 Sept. 2011
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For ardent Shostakovich fans and scholars this release is an obvious must, as it contains several world premiere recordings. But despite the intriguing program I am less sure I can unequivocally recommend this disc to more general listeners. These are curiosities and the musical rewards are generally rather slim. The music for the movie The Girlfriends was written in 1934 for a story about three girlfriends who become nurses during the Russian Civil War. Only a few numbers have survived; the remaining ones - in fact, the majority of them - have been transcribed (by ear) by the conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald. There are 23 numbers in all, scored primarily for chamber forces (in addition to original music, Shostakovich incorporated some popular revolutionary songs for choral forces). Indeed, the music for the first track showed up in the second movement of Shostakovich's first string quartet, and apart from that very number there is preciously little in the score that is remotely memorable. The mood is generally rather bleak and even eerie (there are parts for the theremin here as well), and the style is consistent with the style of his early ballets, but there is no trace of the invention and imagination so obvious in The Golden Age or The Bolt.

The incidental music for Salute to Spain (1936) and Rule Britannia! (1931) are generally light-weight as well, adding some pomp and circumstance to rather slim musical contents. True, there are touches of Shostakovichian ingenuity in both works, and neither work should be dismissed as completely worthless, but neither is it music I can imagine many people would want to listen to more than once.

That leaves us with what is by some distance the main attraction of the disc, the Symphonic Movement from 1945. This was intended for his ninth symphony but eventually discarded. It is a rather intense work of dark muscularity and sinewy strength, epic in conception and somberly intense. It reminds one far more of the music for the eight symphony than the music that was eventually going to constitute the actual ninth. Maybe that is one reason Shostakovich set it aside; another may be that the whole movement sounds more like a self-standing work than a symphonic movement; a third reason probably that, despite its qualities, it is not really a work quite on the level of the music of the symphonies he did, in fact, compose at the time. It also seems to be incomplete, since it ends rather suddenly and surprisingly (and last for less than seven minutes in total).

The performances are compelling throughout, spirited and bold and full of life, and the solo playing (and singing) is generally compelling. The sound is good, as are the notes. Still, I cannot really force myself to give this disc more than a hesitant recommendation - it will, to repeat myself yet again, be invaluable to those with a special interest in the composer, but the musical rewards are, overall, questionable.
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