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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.


Repertoire Note

1.Overture  2.The Procession of the Obscurantists  3.Carousel  4.Scene in the Bazaar  5.The Priest's Daughter's Dream  6.Finale

Shostakovich wrote a surprising amount of music for children. This delightful score was intended to accompany a full-length cartoon-film, based on one of the classics of Russian children’s literature, a comic fairy-tale by Pushkin, a version of the familiar story of the ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.

A stupid village-priest hires a cheap servant, Balda (Blockhead), and treats him badly. The servant gets his revenge by unleashing, albeit unintentionally, some extremely badly behaved devils. Comic by-play is provided by the amorous fantasies of the priest’s daughter.

Although the cartoon-film was never completed, Shostakovich was sufficiently proud of the music to extract a short concert suite, full of jokes, silly tunes, snoring noises from the trombones and bassoons and, in the fourth movement, a wonderful parody of a sentimental song, ‘The rushes sighed’, traditionally sung by Russians when they are very drunk indeed.

Note by Gerard McBurney

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