The Limpid Stream(Der helle Bach / The Bright Stream) op. 39 (1934-35)
Scenario by Fyodor Lopukhov and Adrian Piotrovsky
Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski
Malyi Opera House, Leningrad
Fyodor Lopukhov, choreographer / Malyi Opera Ballet / Pavel Feldt
Full-length ballet on a scenario by Fyodor Lopukhov and Adrian Piotrovsky.
Shostakovich’s third and final ballet – and his second project with the great choreographer Lopukhov - is more conventional and traditionally ‘balletic’ than his first two. By the time he wrote it, Stalin’s repressive doctrines of Socialist-Realism were beginning to bite and the plot has little satire and is relatively conventional: a group of ballet-dancers have been sent into the countryside to bring sophisticated metropolitan entertainment to a successful new Soviet Collective Farm. After some complicated amorous intrigues, it turns out that the honest country-bumpkins have more to teach the city-folk than the other way round.
What is most delightful in this little-known ballet are the extended dance-sequences, often parodying or imitating the great ballet-composers of the past like Tchaikovsky, but with a fresh, modern, open-air and energetic sparkle all their own. The score abounds in light and catchy melodies and dance-rhythms to get the foot tapping, Shostakovich at his most fluent and easily accessible.
Note by Gerard McBurney