Shostakovich: Hypothetically Murdered; Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin; Five Fragments, Op. 42; Jazz Suite No. 1

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: Hypothetically Murdered; Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin; Five Fragments, Op. 42; Jazz Suite No. 1
PERFORMER: Dmitri Kharitonov (bass); CBSO/Mark Elder
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 051
Capricious CD deletion may have left this one-time United disc ‘hypothetically murdered’ – or ‘declared dead’, the correct translation of the title proclaimed by Laurel Fay’s Shostakovich biography – but now Gerard McBurney’s witty and apt arrangement of Shostakovich’s long-lost score for a 1931 music-hall show, as relished by Mark Elder back in 1992, enjoys a timely resurrection. Never mind the missing context; you’ll enjoy the first incarnations of romps recycled in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and the First Piano Concerto, as well as the discreet tinklings of the bar-room piano, the excellent, jazz-friendly CBSO soloists who also savour the solos of the jazz suite at the other end of the programme, and the authentic wail of the flexatone. Meat in the sandwich comes from the Four Pushkin Romances, where it’s useful to hear the crucial setting quoted in the Fifth Symphony – even if Dmitri Kharitonov doesn’t have the steel of a Leiferkus, ideal on DG – and the Fragments preceding the Fourth. It all sounds razor-sharp, too, thanks to the usual high standards of a Harrison-Hatch production. David Nice

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