Shostakovich: Theatre music for piano (arr. composer & others)

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Theatre music for piano (arr. composer & others)
PERFORMER: Rustem Hayroudinoff (piano)
This CD is a breath of fresh air in every way: world premiere recordings (with only two exceptions) of extracts from Shostakovich’s incidental music to plays produced in Moscow and Leningrad in the Thirties and Forties, including a suite from Hamlet. Many of the piano arrangements are by the composer himself, the others are by Lev Solin, and the variety and invention of the pieces are astonishing. These are fine slices of Shostakovichian genius, with all the acerbic irony and satirical, deadpan bite that you would expect from him, but also tremendous charm (especially in the suite from The Human Comedy) and outright slapstick in ‘Football’ from Russian River, a fast and furious gallop that would not be out of place accompanying a Buster Keaton movie. Hayroudinoff’s performances are tender and brilliant, enhancing the music’s many facets with glowing tone, exquisite phrasing and an unerring sense of comic timing. Hayroudinoff trained at the Moscow Conservatoire and in London, has won some prizes and has received much encouragement from Murray Perahia. If this disc is anything to go by, he’s a pianist out of the ordinary: he plays every note as if he simply loves it. More from him, please, Chandos! Jessica Duchen