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on 13 May 2009
Whilst it pales in comparison with Naxos' excellent, and more comprehensive series of DS's film music or Capriccio's excellent box set, Chandos Movies have added a few gems to the recorded repertoire.

In spite of these reservations, this compilation, and its companions, are worth considering. The performances are full bloodied and, as you'd expect from Chandos, excellently recorded. It opens with the 8 selections from the 'Maxim' trilogy, and these are, probably, the finest recordings available of this music, though Jurowski on Capriccio runs it close.

The main interest for DS fans in this disc lies in the four piece The Man With a Gun suite, which is a premiere recording. As with much of DS' film music, there's more craft than art, but DS was nothing if not a consummate craftsman. Some of the gestures are perhaps over-familiar, but it is a solid addition to the available DS film music catalogue.

The suites from (A Girl) Alone ('Odna') and King Lear are solid performances, but they can't rival Fitz-Gerald's masterly exploration Odna/Alone full score or Jurowski's beautiful King Lear Shostakovich Film Music box set.

To be honest, I think that most who wish to explore Shostakovich's film music would probably be better off trying the (considerably cheaper and more comprehensive) Naxos CDs, or, for a larger but well spent outlay, the (7CD) Capriccio box set. For those, like myself, who just can't get enough Shostakovich, then this CD is a very welcome.
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