In the 1930s jazz was highly popular in the Soviet Union. Shostakovich was particularly interested in this kind of music, especially as it was practised within the USSR by his colleagues and friends. So he was delighted when he was asked to write a piece for a small Leningrad dance-band. The result was this charming and tuneful Suite in a style combining echoes of Kurt Weill, klezmer and cabaret with more American influences, especially in the darkly hilarious final movement. There are three movements in all: a soupy and engaging Waltz, a lively Polka with a tricky xylophone solo, and a paradoxically entitled Foxtrot (Blues), which features a notable episode for that pioneering electric instrument, the Hawaiian guitar.
Note by Gerard McBurney