Dmitry Shostakovich: Songs for the Front

Catalogue No: TOCC0121
EAN/UPC: 5060113441218
Release Date: 2011-12-05
Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
Artists: Soloists of the Russkaya Conservatoria Chamber Capella

During the Siege of Leningrad, which lasted from 1941 to 1944, Shostakovich was famously photographed in a fireman's outfit on the burning rooftops. But he also made a musical contribution to the defence of the city, arranging a series of songs — operatic arias, classical numbers and popular Soviet hits — for voices, violin and cello. The musicians then climbed into the back of a truck and were driven to the front, where they performed to the soldiers. The cheeky, folky — and defiantly Russian — insouciance of many of the songs, recorded here for the first time, must have brought a ray of hope and humour to the cold and hungry troops.

Soloists of the Russkaya Conservatoria Chamber Capella

Listen To This Recording:

  1. ‘La Pastorella dell’Alpi,’ Tyrolean ländler (‘The Alpine Shepherdess’) from Serate Musicali (Soirées Musicales) (1941)
  2. Scottish Drinking Song from Twenty Five Scottish Songs for voice and piano trio, Op. 108, No. 13, 1817–18 (1941)
  3. ‘Habañera’ from the opera Carmen, 1873–74 (1941)
  4. ‘Maman, dites-moi’, pastorale (‘Mother, what is love’), 1894 (1941)
  5. ‘Arlecchino’s Serenade’ from the opera Pagliacci, 1892 (1941)
  6. ‘Gopak’; text from Taras Shevchenko’s poem ‘The Haydamaks’ (1941)
  7. ‘Khivrya’s Song’ from the opera Sorochintsy Fair, 1877 (1941)
  8. ‘Parasya’s Dumka’ from the opera Sorochintsy Fair, 1877 (1941)
  9. ‘Song of the Varangian Guest’ from the opera Sadko, 1893–96 (1941)
  10. ‘I Shall Tell Mama’, 1851 (1941)
  11. ‘The Little Sarafan’ (‘Sarafanchik’), 1849 (1941)
  12. ‘I Sit on a Rock’, 1934 (1941)
  13. ‘Duet of Karas and Odarka’ from the opera A Cossack beyond the Danube, 1861–62 (1941)
  14. ‘Fever’ (‘Likhoradushka’), Russian folksong, 1851 (1941)
  15. ‘Grenada Clothed in Mist’, 1869 (1941)
  16. ‘On Our Street’: Olga’s Song from the opera Rusalka, 1855 (1941)
  17. ‘Comic Song’ from the unfinished opera Rogdana, begun in 1861 (1941)
  18. ‘Gypsy Song’, 1832 (1941)
  19. ‘Girl’s Song’, 1935 (1941)
  20. ‘Anyuta’s Song’ from the film The Merry Fellows, 1934 (1941)
  21. ‘Oh, how great!’: March of the Pioneers from the film The Beethoven Concerto, 1937 (1941)
  22. ‘Sing for us, wind’, from the film The Children of Captain Grant, 1936 (1941)
  23. ‘Song of the Sea’, 1939 (1941)
  24. ‘Farewell’, 1937 (1941)
  25. ‘Those are not storm clouds’, from the film Sons of a Working People, 1937 (1941)
  26. ‘Do not touch us’, from the film Mitka-Lelyuk, 1938 (1941)
  27. ‘Shchors’s Song’, 1935 (1941)

3 reviews for Dmitry Shostakovich: Songs for the Front

  1. :

    ‘… While this release of Songs for the Front is self-recommending to Shostakovich completists on the basis of being the premiere recording, there is no denying that the material is not the usual fare of most admirers of this composer. Nevertheless, such superb music-making and recording engineering – deserving of any number of ‘Record of the Year’ awards – swiftly dispel any preconceptions. Repeat hearings generate increasing appreciation for all on offer here, and I have derived immense pleasure listening to these performances in preparing this review. Executive producer Martin Anderson, production director and coordinator Igor Prokhorov, and all others involved should be commended for the attention to detail evident in the presentation and documentation. This is the mandatory Shostakovich CD of 2012.’

    —W. Mark Roberts, DSCH Journal

  2. :

    Brilliant performances by all concerned. I can only hope that some consideration can be given to recording the transcriptions by composers other than Shostakovich mentioned in the liner notes.

  3. :

    ‘These newly recorded Songs for the Front arrangements, variously jolly, patriotic, frivolous, and romantic, include Western European chestnuts and Russian pieces that were probably chestnuts to the original listeners, but will come as a delightful surprise to the modern Western ear […] this disc should appeal to a variety of our “serious record collectors” for a variety of reasons: The performances are impeccable, the sonics brilliant, the repertoire novel, and the arrangements themselves nothing short of marvellous […]’

    —Raymond Beegle, Fanfare Magazine May 2012

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