Sergei Leiferkus

Shostakovich: Songs and Waltzes

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Shostakovich: Songs and Waltzes Review

by James Leonard

The third of the three discs released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2006 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth Dmitry Shostakovich, this disc, entitled Songs and Waltzes, is as impressive and necessary as the two previous releases. The performers -- Russian bass-baritone Sergei Leiferkus with Thomas Sanderling conducting the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra -- are first rate, while the repertoire -- 15 late songs orchestrated by diverse hands plus eight waltzes taken from film scores or a stage production -- is highly unusual. Leiferkus, a wonderfully lyrical but still strongly dramatic singer, has recorded many of Shostakovich's songs before but not these songs in these orchestrations (done by either Boris Tishchenko or Leonid Desyatnikov) and every single one is amazing. True, some are extremely ironic, others are extravagantly morbid, and a few exceedingly vile, but almost all of them are hilariously funny and completely successful in Leiferkus' powerful interpretations. Sanderling is a supportive but aggressive accompanist in the songs -- an approach that entirely suits the close to belligerent music -- and an affectionate but rambunctious leader in the waltzes -- an approach that likewise entirely suits the sarcastically sentimental music. The Russian Philharmonic responds to Sanderling with more than professional dedication and its playing is consistently striking. Anyone who really loves Shostakovich probably already has the two previous discs in this series -- a coupling of the music for The Priest and His Servant Balda plus three orchestral movements from Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk played by Sanderling and the Russian Philharmonic and a coupling of orchestrations of the violin and viola sonatas played by Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, and the KREMERata BALTICA -- and probably can't wait to get this disc. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is unquestionably real.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Verses (4) of Captain Lebyadkin, songs for bass & piano, Op. 146
1 Sergei Leiferkus 03:50 Amazon
2 Sergei Leiferkus 03:58 Amazon
3 Sergei Leiferkus 02:26 Amazon
4 Sergei Leiferkus 02:29 Amazon
Satires (5), for soprano & piano, Op. 109
5 Sergei Leiferkus 01:30 Amazon
6 Sergei Leiferkus 03:00 Amazon
7 Sergei Leiferkus 03:06 Amazon
8 Sergei Leiferkus 04:53 Amazon
9 Sergei Leiferkus 04:51 Amazon
Songs (5) from the journal Krokodil, for bass & piano, Op. 121
10 Sergei Leiferkus 04:05 Amazon
11 Sergei Leiferkus 01:19 Amazon
12 Sergei Leiferkus 01:11 Amazon
13 Sergei Leiferkus 01:22 Amazon
14 Sergei Leiferkus 01:48 Amazon
15 Sergei Leiferkus 02:32 Amazon
Maxim, suite (from film scores Opp.45 & 89), Op. 50a (assembled by Atovmyan)
16 Sergei Leiferkus 03:18
The Golden Hills (The Golden Mountains; Happy Street), film score, Op. 30
17 Sergei Leiferkus 05:19
Michurin (Life in Bloom), film score, Op. 78
18 Sergei Leiferkus 02:11 Amazon
Pirogov, film score, Op. 76
19 Sergei Leiferkus 05:17 Amazon
The Gadfly, film score, Op. 97
20 Sergei Leiferkus 02:24 Amazon
The First Echelon, film score, Op. 99
21 Sergei Leiferkus 03:13 Amazon
Song of the Great Rivers (Unity and Seven Rivers), film music, Op. 95 (incomplete)
22 Sergei Leiferkus 03:42 Amazon
The Human Comedy, incidental music, Op. 37 (part lost)
23 Sergei Leiferkus 02:43 Amazon
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