No one in their right mind would listen to this disc all way through. Shostakovich's Ballet Suites, with their bright colors, bouncy rhythms, and their insanely infectious tunes, have all effervescence, all the evanescence, and all the substance of a soap bubble. A single suite is innocuously entertaining and more than one suite would surely drive even the most dedicated Shostakovich lover to despair. But if the listener tries just one suite at a time and follows it by, say, the Leningrad Symphony, Shostakovich' Suites can be really quite delightful little baubles.
In these 2003 Naxos recordings by Dmitry Yablonsky and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Shostakovich's Suites are about as charming as the works will ever get. Dmitry Yablonsky has a light hand, an ear for a good tune, and the sense not to push the music too hard. The Russian Philharmonic plays with panache and just enough sentimentality to make the pieces work. Naxos' sound is crisp, clean, and warm, a splendid combination.