Dmitry Shostakovich

Tahiti Trot, for orchestra (arr. of Youmans "Tea for Two"), Op. 16

    Description by James Leonard

    Shostakovich's Tahiti-Trot may be the most odd and unlikely piece he ever composed. Vincent Youmans' hit song "Tea for Two" from his musical No, No, Nanette was known as the Tahiti-Trot in the U.S.S.R. Although the Party officially despised decadent capitalist jazz, in the late '20s, before Stalin had consolidated his power, such things were permitted and, as Tahiti-Trot, "Tea for Two" became a tremendous popular hit. And as such, it was treated with disdain by "high-brow" composers like the 22-year-old Dmitri Shostakovich. Yet, even the young and haughty Shostakovich could be taunted into orchestrating the work.

    As the conductor Nikolai Malko tells the story in his Reminiscences, "During a tour of the Ukraine (in 1928), Mitya heard a record of the Tahiti-Trot. I said to him, 'Well, Mitenka, if you really have as much genius as they say, I give you one hour to go into the next room, put this little piece down on paper and orchestrate it for me to play." Apparently, it only took Shostakovich forty-five minutes to accomplish the task and win the challenge. Malko premiered Shostakovich's charmingly delightful arrangement the next year with the Leningrad Philharmonic. With its delicate celesta, its insouciant stopped trumpets, its blowzy trombone glissandos, and its sweetly swinging strings, Shostakovich's orchestration sounds far more affectionate than disdainful, and giving the work an official opus number of 16 grants the work a standing in his œuvre which Shostakovich did not grant to his slightly later and not altogether dissimilar Jazz Suites.

    This was not quite the end of the Tahiti-Trot: Shostakovich later re-used it in the third act of his ballet The Age of Gold (1929 - 1930).

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 ABC Classics
    2014 Alto / Musical Concepts MCSCD 1250
    2013 Berlin Classics 0300426BC
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970514
    2012 Chandos CHAN 24144
    2011 Virgin Classics 5099902931920
    2011 Decca
    2010 ABC Classics 4764065
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926475
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099923768
    2009 EMI Classics
    2007 EMI Classics 512278
    2007 Classics for Pleasure
    2006 Decca 475 7431DC9
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946365300
    2006 Naxos 8 552129/30
    2005 Naxos 6110104
    2005 EMI Classics
    2004 Virgin 45609
    2004 Universal Classics 000217302
    2003 Naxos 5110006
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471744
    2002 Naxos 555949
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 469316
    2000 Capriccio Records 71096
    2000 Melodiya 72915
    1999 Melodiya 7432159058
    1997 POPE / PopeMusic 2015
    1997 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 585
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 55601
    1994 Chandos 6598
    1993 London 433 702-2DH
    1992 Chandos 8587
    1991 Mastersound 02
    Mastersound 15
    PopeMusic 1015
    Pro-Arte Records 551
    HMV Classics 73047
    Teldec 43713
    Fanfare 02