A fascinating programme of song cycles for bass and piano by the great Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Although the title “Romances” suggest idyllic meandering melodies, Shostakovich constructs several layers of emotions as expressed by the poetry, from innocent beauty to irony and deep despair.
Performed with profound understanding by Russian forces.
Famed today as one of the 20th century’s great symphonists, and the composer of one of the greatest cycles of string quartets, the songs of Shostakovich have been somewhat overshadowed. However he was a prolific composer of songs, setting not only Russian texts but poems by British and Japanese poets. His songs spanned his entire creative life from his op4 of 1922 to the op146 cycle of 1975 included on this disc.
The earliest songs here date from 1936, and show how the young composer has abandoned his highly energetic and satirical style in favour of a more profound and lyrical one, which he would develop and perfect in works such as the 5th Symphony of 1937.