Mark Fitz-Gerald / Rheinland-Pfalz Staatsphilharmonie

Shostakovich: The Bedbug; Love and Hate

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    8
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Shostakovich's film music, and before that his incidental music for the stage, has gotten a bad rap as unadventurous music he wrote when he needed to ingratiate himself with the Communist regime. For some of it, the characterization rings true, but not for all of it, and these early works -- one a set of stage incidental music and one a film score of 1935 -- are delightful. Both are world premieres, although a suite from The Bedbug, Op. 19 was performed by Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra many years ago. It's a biting, bumptious, satirical work straight out of the highly creative early Soviet scene that Stalin brutally stamped out. Perhaps historical-instrument specialists could organize performances of neglected plays with their original instrumental music; this one would be ideal. The score to Love and Hate, Op. 28 (1934), a broad tale of the 1919 Russian civil war, is more variegated and perhaps less successful as a stand-alone score than the Bedbug music; it consists of almost two dozen short cuts. However, it has plenty to interest the Shostakovich fan, including passages that look forward to his more Romantic, safer, middle-period idiom. The score was reconstructed by the conductor here, Mark Fitz-Gerald, who is a specialist in both Shostakovich and silent film music; there surely wasn't a better person for the job. He worked not only from piano scores but from copies of the film itself. The performances by Fitz-Gerald and the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz are fine; there is room for a recording by a crack symphony orchestra that gets more of the music's edge, but Fitz-Gerald is to be commended for bringing this and other unknown Shostakovich works to the world's attention.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Bedbug, Op. 19
1 02:33 Amazon
2 02:26 Amazon
3 02:22 Amazon
4 01:00 Amazon
5 03:11 Amazon
6 05:39 Amazon
7 01:06 Amazon
8 00:36 Amazon
9 00:52 Amazon
10 02:50 Amazon
11 02:13 Amazon
12 00:08 Amazon
13 00:49 Amazon
14 00:45 Amazon
15 02:07 Amazon
Love and Hate, Op. 38
16 02:00 Amazon
17 00:58 Amazon
18 00:21 Amazon
19 02:00 Amazon
20 00:54 Amazon
21 01:41 Amazon
22 01:39 Amazon
23 01:55 Amazon
24 01:45 Amazon
25 00:41 Amazon
26 00:48 Amazon
27 00:22 Amazon
28 01:17 Amazon
29 02:17 Amazon
30 02:19 Amazon
31 01:09 Amazon
32 01:02 Amazon
33 03:03 Amazon
34 00:37 Amazon
35 01:02 Amazon
36 01:00 Amazon
37 00:17 Amazon
38 00:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick