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CD Review

Dmitri Shostakovich

Film Music

  • The Gadfly
  • Pirogov
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear
  • Five Days, Five Nights
  • Michurin
  • The Fall of Berlin
  • The Golden Mountains
Belgian Radio Symphony & Chorus/José Serebrier
Warner 2564-69070-2 3CDs
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This newly repackaged set is basically the recordings Serebrier made of these works in the late 1980's with the Belgian Radio Orchestra and for those who possessed the tapes or LP's of them, it is a highly invigorating experience to have them neatly fitted into one small box of 3 CDs.

Serebrier has always been a dab hand in Russian repertoire and these film scores are no exception. He brings astonishing power and great swathes of colour to "The Gadfly", one of my favourite works and is also very much into the brooding shades of the Shakespearian scores for "Hamlet" and "King Lear" – to my mind this is Shostakovich at his very best in the scoring of such films.

The scores for "Pirogov"and "Five Days, Five Nights"are perhaps less well known but they retain their nobility in Serebrier's hands who in turn coaxes his Belgian players into playing of astonishing virtuosity and colour. The final CD contains the high energy scores for "Michurin", the bombastic "Fall of Berlin"and "The Golden Mountains"where the listener can revel in heroic music which is reproduced accurately and with the highest possible virtuosity.

Notes and recordings are of the best possible quality with some interesting information on the actual circumstances in which the scores were written. If you really want some of the finest Shostakovich ever recorded then you should snap up this great set without delay.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech