Friday, January 20, 2012

I've branched out

For some years I've been reviewing local concerts for SFCV, but lately they've been publishing occasional CD reviews as well, and I've now joined the ranks of the CD reviewers. A couple weeks ago my editors sent me a 2-CD set of early Shostakovich film music, no doubt choosing me because I'm a known Shostakovich enthusiast (for proof, part one and part two), and they got an extensive burble on the subject. I'm actually less enthusiastic about his early music than his middle and later works, but I enjoyed this a great deal, thanks in particular to a snappy performance.

Ninety minutes of unfamiliar pit cabaret music is a lot to absorb, and more than one might want to tackle all at once. I actually wrote the review while listening to the music for the second time through. For me, throwing in references to the Shostakovich symphonies I was passingly reminded of was easily done spontaneously, though perhaps I should have said that the dark, funereal moments were more like the harrowing "Babi Yar" movement of the 13th than like the 14th. But that would have taken more wordage to explain, and I was running long enough as it is.

The click and play excerpts were chosen by my editors rather than myself. The first excerpt, which is the very beginning of the score, gives a good idea of what the cheeky early sections are like, and near the end of the 3-minute excerpt is one of those detached string interludes I mentioned. The second excerpt, however, though from much further on in the score, isn't very typical of the later parts' character and might be a bit misleading.

I have another review CD on my desk, deadline and publication date unknown, to me at least.

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