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Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975)
Ballet Suites (edited by Lev Atovmyan): No.1 (1950); No.2 (1951); No.3 (1952); No.4 (1953)
Dmitri Yablonsky (cello)
Oleg Tokathev (trumpet)
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Yablonsky
Recorded in KULTURA Studio 5, Moscow, 1 June 2003
NAXOS 8.557208 [60.07]


The Ballet Suites were all arranged from Shostakovich’s stage, film and ballet works and were edited for publication in 1949 by Lev Atovmyan. Interestingly they were originally intended for radio broadcast. The suites derive from works such as The Limpid Stream, The Bolt, The Human Comedy and the Suite for Jazz Orchestra No.1 and in fact the third Ballet Suite divides equally between just two - The Human Comedy and The Limpid Stream.

Infectiously entertaining and lighthearted they receive committed and colourful performances from Yablonsky and his forces, now well established on disc as authoritative interpreters of this kind of repertoire. The winds bear a weight in such as the Polka (from The Limpid Stream) of the First but show their quasi-satiric teeth nicely whilst the portentous Adagio of the Second with its reserved cello solo (Yablonsky again it seems) scores highly. Trumpeter Tokathev is on top form for the Sentimental Romance (from The tale of a priest and His Servant Balda) that sits at the near heart of the second suite. Fortunately Yablonsky and his band don’t overplay things - such as the Dance of the Third Suite or the light-but-lovely Waltz; rather beautiful, this. Whether in waltz or gallop Shostakovich proves consistently full of verve and these performances, warmly recorded, are splendid ones.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Paul Shoemaker


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