SHOSTAKOVICH Balda Sanderling

Share

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

Das Märchen vom Popen und
seinem Knecht Balda
The Tale of the Priest
and his Worker, Balda

Orchestersuite aus
Orchestral Suite from
»Lady Macbeth«
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Thomas Sanderling
Int. Release 02 May. 2006
Download
CD DDD 0289 477 6112 9 GH
Shostakovich’s original film score Balda to have world-premiere recording


Track List

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)
The Story of the Priest and His Helper Balda, Op.36

Edited by Vadim Bibergan

First Part

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling, The Moscow State Chamber Choir, Alexander Soloviev

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Dmitri Belosselski, Sergei Balashov, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Dmitri Belosselski, Dmitri Stepanovich, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling, The Moscow State Chamber Choir, Alexander Soloviev

Second Part

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling, The Moscow State Chamber Choir, Alexander Soloviev

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling, The Moscow State Chamber Choir, Alexander Soloviev

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Dmitri Belosselski, Evgenia Sorokina, Herman Yukavsky, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Dmitri Ulyanov, Dmitri Belosselski, Andrei Suchkov, Irina Narskaya, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Andrei Suchkov, Fyodor Bakanov, Dmitri Belosselski, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling, The Moscow State Chamber Choir, Alexander Soloviev

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Fyodor Bakanov, Dmitri Belosselski, Andrei Suchkov, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Suite from the Opera "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District", Op.29 (a)

31.
0:00
2:39

Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling

Total Playing Time 1:01:27

Shostakovich¿s complete 1933 music for the unfinished cartoon ¿The Tale of the Priest and his Worker, Balda¿ is worthier of close attention than some of his other film scores. There¿s much more to it than the six numbers extracted by Rozhdestvensky in 1979, and the present team, recorded in appropriately lurid close-up, are the best possible successors in that tradition . . . The vocal contributions, especially Sergey Balashov¿s brief but highly artistic tenor solo, are vividly idiomatic.

Who better to bring us world premiere recordings of Shostakovich's raucous Russian folk tale, "Balda", and the symphonic suite from his "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" than the Russian Phil under the magisterial Thomas Sanderling? Both are revelations: the first as skittish as the second is imposing . . .

Sanderling conducts with a vicious sense of humour . . . Thomas Sanderling clearly has an outstanding feeling for this side of Shostakovich . . . the rhythmic pointing and characterisation are . . . a joy to hear . . . recording quality throughout both discs is absolutely outstanding. Huge fun, and many varieties of it.

The performance (both instrumental and vocal) share the music's sharp characterization without sacrificing precision . . . It is hard to imagine "Balda" being done much better than it is here. This fills an important gap in the Shostakovich discography . . . the chief attraction here is certainly "Balda", and a very fine attraction it is, too.

. . . [a] worthy issue . . . Bass Dmitri Beloselsky, as Balda, and tenor Sergei Balashov and bass Dmitri Stepanovich . . . are highly capable . . .

Thomas Sanderling's instrumentalists have the measure of their entertaining but by no means easy tasks, and he uses a Russian cast, an absolute necessity in a case involving such idiomatic textual specificity. Bass Dmitri Beloselsky, as Balda, and tenor Sergei Balashov and bass Dmitri Stepanovich, who share the Priest's music, are highly capable. Sanderling and the orchestra fill out the disc with the seven-minute Symphonic Suite drawn from "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" . . .

. . . [man] sollte . . . nicht vergessen, dass er [Shostakovich] in anderen Genres ähnlich produktiv war: etwa auf dem Gebiet der Filmmusik (daran erinnert jetzt unter anderem eine von Thomas Sanderling geleitete, hörenswerte Aufnahme der Musik zum satirischen avantgardistischen Zeichentrickfilm "Das Märchen vom Popen und seinem Knecht Balda" aus den Jahren 1933/34) . . . Einen nochmals anderen Zugang hat schliesslich das Hagen-Quartett gefunden, das in seiner neuen Einspielung der Quartette Nr. 3, 7 und 8 die Tempokontraste und die dynamischen und artikulatorischen Gegensätze in einer bisher nie gehörten Art und Weise schärft und trotzdem die Kantabilität der Musik nicht zu kurz kommen lässt. Mit dieser faszinierenden, hochvirtuosen Interpretation ist dem Salzburger Ensemble eine Referenzeinspielung gelungen, die ein würdiges Pendant zu Mariss Jansons' Gesamtaufnahme der Sinfonien bildet und auf eine Fortsetzung hoffen lässt. Den Grundstein zu einer Schostakowitsch-"Totale" hat das Hagen-Quartett ja schon vor zehn Jahren mit einer ähnlich überzeugenden Einspielung der Quartette Nr. 4, 11 und 14 gelegt.

In grell ausgeleuchteten Jahrmarktsszenen tummelt sich eine Bande grotesker Figuren, saftig rhythmisiert, hingepustet mit sattem Blech. Thomas Sanderling und das Orchester gehen mit Verve und Lust an scharfen Konturen zur Sache und machen diese Schostakowitsch-Entdeckung so zu einem Heidenspaß.

Thomas Sanderling est un accompagnateur fidèle . . .

Thomas Sanderling dirige a la Filarmónica de Rusia con gran teatralidad en la primera obra, mostrando una plantilla en estado de gracia, sobre todo en los vientos ... y los metales, que insufian aire esperpéntico al conjunto. Los solistas vocales, como Dimitri Beloselski o Sergei Balashov, aportan un toque humorístico impagable. Respecto a la suite de Lady Macbeth, Sanderling condensa en ella, con un vigor y una energia extraordinarios, los logros de una de las obras más importantes y audaces del autor soviético.


    DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

Balda · Lady Macbeth Suite


This programme is a revelation of the unexpected Shostakovich - a kind of familiar stranger. The works recorded here for the first time represent contrasting essences of his creative world: the cheerful, farcical-tomfoolery atmosphere of the Russian folk-tale (Balda) and the unbearable tragedy of Russian reality (Lady Macbeth).

The film scenario to The Tale of the Priest and his Worker, Balda was written by the director Mikhail Tsekhanovsky, after Pushkin's folk-tale, known to every child in Russia. A priest hires Balda as his worker, for the price of "three knocks on the forehead"; but then, in order to escape from the deal with Balda, he begins to give him unperformable duties. Balda, however, carries out all these duties, and the moment of payment arrives for the miserly boss. "The poor priest exposed his forehead. With the first knock the priest shot up to the ceiling; with the second the priest was speechless, and with the third the old man had his senses knocked out of him. But Balda kept repeating, reproachfully: 'So, priest, you wanted a good price ...'" Tsekhanovsky, who in 1931 had made the famous avant-garde animated film Pacific (a paradoxical title!) to the score of Arthur Honegger's Pacific 231, decided to create a new work in the style of Russian folk tableaux, on the same principle: "first the music, then the film". At the beginning of 1933 he got in touch with the composer.

At that time the young Shostakovich was not only the writer of symphonies, operas and ballets but also a highly experienced master in the area of film music. He considered that music in the cinema "may and should be faced with the same level of demands as the scenario, the actors' performances, and the direction. But in such a film the music must then be accorded parity of esteem". He was immediately fascinated by Tsekhanovsky's concept: "The screenplay ... has succeeded in retaining satirical sharpness and the entire palette of Pushkin's ... work of genius tale ... The film is sustained at the level of a folk-farce. In it there is a mass of sharp, hyperbolic situations and grotesque characters ... The tale sparkles with fervour, lightness and cheerfulness. And to compose music for it was likewise an easy and cheerful task."

Tsekhanovsky's diary entry records vivid details of the collaboration: "Shostakovich played excerpts from Balda: the dialogue of Balda with the Devils. He played powerfully and precisely. It was as though his fingers were extracting precious stones from the instrument ... He likes my 'scenario', and he went about his work like an inspired, first-rate artist." Shostakovich was also satisfied with his music for Pushkin's tale. Never before or since did he come into such close and immediate proximity to the Russian folk-tale element, to folk intonations and rhythmics; and this encounter lent his work a special freshness, energy and splendour.

"The content of the tale itself and the artist's concept defined the character both of the musical language - in the manner of a folk-fairground and a merry-go-round - and of the entire film", the composer recalled. "Perhaps after The Tale of the Priest is shown on screen, I will again hear reproaches from certain musical critics at my superficiality and mischief, at the absence of the real human emotions that 'at long last' materialized in my Lady Macbeth. But what should we consider as human emotion? Do only lyricism, grief and tragedy count? Surely laughter also has a right to this honourable title?"

Having worked on it for nearly four years, Tsekhanovsky unfortunately was unable to complete his innovative film. Only the scene of the "Market" remained as a well-known classic of animated cinema, plus the magnificent music of Shostakovich, which 70 years after its creation is available to the listener on this disc for the first time in its full and authentic form. It was on the initiative of the composer's widow, Irina Antonovna, that the score of The Tale of the Priest was completed, a task carried out by one of Shostakovich's pupils, Vadim Bibergan.

The Symphonic Suite from the opera The Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District presents the sharpest, most staggering contrast to the score of The Tale of the Priest. It does not appear in a single list of Shostakovich's works (the author of these lines was fortunate enough to discover of the score in the process of preparing the New Collected Works of Shostakovich). The Suite is dated 1932 and was assembled immediately after the completion of the opera.

At the turn of the 1920s/30s Shostakovich repeatedly emphasized the great significance of the symphonic principle in his musical-theatrical works. "I consider it essential", he wrote in 1931, for instance, "to dramatize the musical essence, to give the music a genuine symphonic tension and dramatic direction." In firmly insisting on the through-composed, symphonic quality of Lady Macbeth's musical dramaturgy, he particularly highlighted the orchestral interludes: "The musical flow is uninterrupted," he wrote, "only breaking off at the conclusion of each act; and it is renewed in the next act, going not in small segments but unfolding on the large, symphonic plane ... The musical interludes are the continuation and evolution of the preceding musical thought, and they play a very large role in the task of characterizing the events on stage ... In connection with this arises the massive role of the orchestra, which does not accompany but plays a role no less important, perhaps even more important, than the soloists and chorus."

The Suite op. 29a consists of three interludes: between the second and third, seventh and eighth, and sixth and seventh scenes (the last two interludes of the opera are swapped round); however, in the Suite the movements do not have titles. The dramatic fate of the opera as a whole - which had initially travelled the world in triumph but then was suppressed and for a quarter of a century removed from musical life - evidently settled that of the Suite. Its recording is here realized for the first time.
Manashir Yakubov

2/2006