Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes – D. Shostakovich

After completing and premiering his powerful and controversial 13th Symphony, Babi Yar, in 1962, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) spent the next year in a state of physical and creative recuperation. The only original work he wrote in 1963 was the ‘Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes’, a memento of his visit to Kirghizstan that year. He promised the local people he would write a piece for them, and he kept that promise. By October, his ‘Overture of Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes’ was completed, and on November 2, 1963, the work was premiered in Frunze (now renamed Bishkek), the capital of Kirghizstan. To symbolize the links between Russia and Kirghizstan, Shostakovich chose a Russian theme and two Kirghiz themes drawn from existing folk collections for his overture. The Kirghiz melodies, one heard immediately in the overture’s quiet, slowtempo introduction, are ‘Tryrldan’ about a mythological creature and ‘Op Maida’, a threshers’ song. The Russian theme is ‘Ekh, brodyagi vy, brodyagi’ (O You Tramps) from the Siberian region of Omsk. Shostakovich’s vivid orchestration and dramatic flair animate this colorful but rarely heard work.

Publisher: → Baton Music