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37
4.5 out of 5 stars
Shostakovich - Jazz Suites Nos 1 and 2
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2003
If you are used to thinking of Shostakovich's music as depressing, stark and discouragingly intellectual then try listening to this enjoyable selection of his "lighter" music. Featuring The Bolt Ballet Suite, his two Jazz Suites and the popular Tahiti Trot ('Tea for Two'), you can't go far wrong as an antidote to the string quartets and symphonies. It isn't consistently perfect, but the magnificent Second Waltz from Jazz Suite No. 2 - used in Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut - and the Foxtrot Blues from Jazz Suite No. 1 are wonderful and hugely enjoyable, as is much of the ballet suite and the Tahiti Trot (if you like that sort of thing). Worth getting at such a good price.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2005
There are two sides to Shostakovich's music and most listeners tend to know only the darker side. There is wit in Shostakovich's music although usually in acidic or sardonic way. There was a time before the Stalinist purges and the Second World War when the wit really flourished and Yablonsky and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra (formerly the U.S.S.R Symphony Orchestra) give us some very fine examples of it.
The plot of "The Bolt" (evil capitalist industrialists brought low by rightous socialism) so embarassed the composer that he rarely spoke of it and never pushed for a revival after its initial run. He did realize that he wrote some very good music for it and from it he made this nearly half hour suite. The Jazz Suites are really works with jazz influences and were written for theatre orchestras. There is some really sprarkingy and witty music here with the saxophones at times bringing Kurt Weill to mind although most were written before Weill's more well know works. The darkly tinged waltzes of the Second Suite are really quite fine managing to be both beautiful and a bit sinister.
The cd closes with Shostakovich's arrange of "Tea For Two" which was called in some countries "Tahiti Foxtrot" . Shostakovich made the arrangement because of a bet with the conductor Malko. The bet was that Shostakovich couldn't take the piano score and orchestrate it in an hour. He did it in 40 minutes. The performances are very good managing to keep a sense of humor about the music. Very striking cover art using a painting of the Russian theatre impressario Meyerchold. Detailed notes and a very inexpensive price (there are far less idiomatic performances of these works selling at 3 times the price) are just more icing on the cake. If you just know Shostakovich's music from the more serious works then you only know a part of him. This cd shows that Shostakovich could smile albeit with a wry grin.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2003
I defy anyone to listen to this CD and not smile throughout at the sheer infectiousness of this music. The Waltz 2 from Jazz Suite No. 2 is just a joy - and taken at a far more satisfyingly exhilarating pace than the rather dowdy version in 'Eyes wide shut'. A CD to listen to again and again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This well recorded disc, made in 2001, brings together an enjoyable a selection of Shostakovich in a light vein. This is based on his stage works, the main item of which is the music he wrote for his ballet, The Bolt. That concerned industrial espionage and a rather doubtful plot. It is now available on a recent Blu-ray but it is arguable that this selection of music drawn from it as a suite provides the more enduring and enjoyable option. Shostakovich apparently thought so too which is why he produced the suite which proved to be a popular decision.

The concluding Tahiti Trot is actually Shostakovich's arrangement of tea for Two, written is response to a challenge to provide an arrangement in an hour. He actually completed the job in 40 minutes and it has proved popular ever since.

The two Jazz Suites are collections of light stage dances more associated with ballroom dance titles rather than American styled jazz. Those expecting the latter may be disappointed therefore but everyone else is likely to thoroughly enjoy this stream of good quality light music.

All the pieces are played with enthusiasm and with style by these Russian musicians.

I would suggest that the disc provides considerable delight and illustrates an important alternative side to Shostakovich that ought to be known about more widely. As such the disc deserves serious consideration as a purchase option. There seems little reason to pay more as this disc offers evidence that quality is not always to do with paying top prices.
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on 14 November 2013
I love jazz and i like Shostakovich. Because thin was a cheap album and I was not familiar wit the pieces, I took a gamble even though classical composers seem to get it wrong with jazz. This is no exception and resembles 1930s dance band music to my ears. Otherwise, I fond the music enjoyable.
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on 27 November 2013
I heard this first at a Music Discovery class and subsequently bought the CD. A good addition to my collection.
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on 18 November 2014
very pleased with everything abut this order / delivery / product.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2009
I will be short and sweet. Everyone and I mean everyone should have this in their CD collection. It is a joy to listen to over and over again. As a footnote the last track (based on Tea for Two) was written out and arranged from memory in 45 minutes after hearing the tune played once. Go and buy you will love it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2011
Previously, I had only heard the jazz suites on the radio so wanted to buy a CD. This is a good recording, played at a good speed. However, the jazz suites were shorter than I had supposed, so the CD had to be made-up to a reasonable length with an additional piece, in this case a ballet score. Good, but not as good as the jazz suites.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2013
I bought the Shostakovitch for my ipod, it downloaded very quickly. I am a big fan of the music by Shostakovitch and have all his symphonies, concertos etc, this music filled a gap in my collection and is very enjoyable.
Jeff Lee, Guernsey
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