Dmitri Shostakovich Composer
The Age of Gold (suite from the ballet), Op.22aPerformances: 23
Musicology:Shostakovich extracted this suite from his unsuccessful 1930 so-called athletic ballet, The Age of Gold, about the adventures of a Soviet soccer team abroad. The suite's four unnamed movements last a mere 16 or 17 minutes. The opening movement, "Introduction," derives from the work's overture. It is vigorous and colorful, sassy and sarcastic, auguring the music in the composer's 1936 Symphony No. 5. After a playful, mischievous opening, a parade of themes and light moods ensues, with numerous tempo shifts, the whole sounding episodic in its generally comic character. The ensuing Adagio, fully half the entire length of the suite, begins with a lovely, if slightly sour theme on soprano saxophone, representing a cabaret singer in the ballet. The middle section turns darkly intense, but the outer panels are dreamy and nocturnal. The ensuing Polka, satirizing League of Nations politicians, is humorous if a bit overdone, and the concluding rambunctious "Dance," whose music is associated with the soccer team in the ballet, clearly exhibits the influence of Stravinsky's Petrushka.
The Age of Gold (suite from the ballet), Op.22aYear: 1930
Genre: Other Orchestral
Pr. Instrument: Orchestra
- 1.Introduction: Allegro non troppo
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The Age of Gold (suite from the ballet), Op.22a (arr.piano) - 3.PolkaThe Age of Gold, Op. 22, (1930) was by far the most popular of Shostakovich's three ballets; in fact, a few of its numbers became "hits" of the day, in particular the goofy "wrong-note" Polka from Act II. Built over a standard polka-accompaniment and containing sarcastic light music parodies, Shostakovich's polka is typical of his burlesques. In the ballet, the Polka parodies a meeting of the League of Nations. As a pop song, the Polka became a hit under the title "Once Upon a Time In Geneva."
Shostakovich made several transcriptions of the work—one for string quartet (the second of the Two Pieces for String Quartet) and one for solo piano. Although the piano arrangement is for the most part a straight transcription of the ballet version, the work's fascination with major and minor seconds sounds more abrasive in the piano version than in either the orchestral original or the string quartet.
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