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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - A Catalogue, Bibliography and Discography
by Derek C Hulme
Published by Scarecrow Press Inc, Lanham, Maryland 20706 USA
Hardback
Third Edition, 2002
701pp
ISBN 0-8108-4432-X $85

AVAILABILITY
www.scarecrowpress.com
phone: 1-800-462-6420
fax: 717-794-3803
also:-
PO Box 317
Oxford OX2 9RU

 

The following for Shostakovich is comparable with that for Mahler. Both have attracted concert activity, masses of literature, exhaustive research and encyclopedic recording activity. There are other similarities too not least the searing emotional intensity invoked by the music of both composers. Each also deploys popular music and weaves this into the tapestry. There are differences too. While Mahler was one of the world's great conductors Shostakovich seemed to have few pretensions in that direction.

Derek Hulme has been a steadfast supporter of the composer since 1942 when, as he says, on spec he bought the six expensive HMV red label 78s of the Fifth Symphony. A Shostakovich catalogue, in those days, would have been shorter. In any event this experience drew from Mr Hulme a lifelong mission which in part can be seen from this book.

This is the third edition. The first came out in 1982 published locally to the writer's Scottish home at Muir of Ord. The second followed from OUP in 1991. The third is in the safe hands of Scarecrow Press, Vermont.

The heart of the book is a catalogue ordered by opus number after the sequence set by Grigori Shneyerson. Each entry sets out opus number, title, background, author of text, publication background, instrumental/vocal specification, dates, dedications, premieres (USSR, UK, USA for the major pieces), arrangements, duration, location of mss and sketches, discography. Film music is treated in equal detail. The catalogue takes up 471 pages. There are 36pp of bibliography alphabetically ordered by author name with Russian, German and English sources treated side by side. The list of BBC broadcast talks and features runs to fifteen pages. The entries give a synopsis of the content of the broadcast.

Worth noting is that although recording reviews for recordings and articles are listed in the catalogue and the bibliography these relate to UK publications (principally Gramophone). There are no cross-references to American Record Guide or that sans pareil among review magazines, Fanfare.

Numerous appendices treat the collections of Shostakovich material: publishers' addresses, TV and theatre productions, fascinating background on the history of Shostakovich recordings and its placement in the development of recorded music in the USSR, a chronology of key events in the composer's life, a list of abandoned projects and obscure and dubious works, the role played by the DSCH monogram, an index of Russian Cyrillic titles (extremely useful if you dabble in original Russian recordings), transliteration and pronunciation details,

To help you navigate this mass of data there are 116 pages of indices of names and compositions.

As far as I can see the most recent updates take us to somewhere in 2000. It is a pity that the book does not state the date to which it has been finalised. This is of course a Herculean task as the literature and recordings are constantly expanded.

Simply indispensable to the growing numbers of Shostakovich fanatics. It is more than a decade since the last edition and plenty has happened in that time. As Mr Hulme notes, only 12 pages of the 1991 edition survived without changes. Mr Hulme tells us that this third edition will be his last though he hopes to be spared to issue periodical supplementary booklets to bring things up to date from time to time.

The book is a hardback without dust wrapper. Instead the attractive sombre cover is robustly laminated.

Shostakovich owes much to Mr Hulme for his meticulous research and its translation into such a succinctly ordered and approachable form. I would not be surprised if the numbers of Russian-speaking Shostakovich supporters were many times outnumbered by their English speaking counterparts. Mr Hulme acts as a best friend advocate for the composer who means so much to him. If Shostakovich were here today he would, I am sure, embrace Mr Hulme warmly for this authoritative resource.
Rob Barnett





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