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Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski for the UK, British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel.

World Premiere
Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow
Koslovsky & Shchukin
Repertoire Note

Incidental music to a play by Pavel Sukhotin, adapted from ‘La Comédie Humaine’ by Balzac. 

This is one of the most attractive and immediately accessible of all Shostakovich’s theatre scores, bubbling with French-style melody and full of gentle neo-classical imitations that recall the music of the young Prokofiev and even Poulenc. Sukhotin’s play was a composite, weaving together strands from many different stories to create a dramatic version of Balzac’s vision of 19th century French society in a time of painful change and uncertainty. Shostakovich’s main tune, symbolising the city of Paris, is an affectionate and catchy pastiche of a typical popular French ‘chanson’ from before between the wars and about half the movements consist of charming and inventive variations on this tune.

The music of ‘The Human Comedy’ is scored for a small orchestra and is an ideal contribution to the repertoire of popular light music.

Note by Gerard McBurney

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