Set in mid-nineteenth-century Italy during a turbulent period of pre-Unification political unrest, The Gadfly drew from Shostakovich one of his most dazzling and popular film scores, heard hitherto on record only in a suite arranged and re-orchestrated by Levon Atovmian. This recording presents the full, original score for the first time, as closely as possible to Shostakovich’s original conception. Reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from the original manuscript and the Russian film soundtrack, it calls for a large orchestra including church bells, an organ, two guitars and a mandolin, all excluded from the Atovmian suite.
The excerpts from The Counterplan, which marked the fifteenth anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, include the infectious hit-tune The Song of the Counterplan.
The Gadfly – Overture
The Song of the Counterplan
“The Gadfly film score Op. 97 is the only work Shostakovich completed in 1955. It was a very difficult time for the composer: despite Khrushchev taking over after Stalin’s death in 1953, the new leader’s progress was erratic while the State’s oppression continued. He also had to face the death of his wife, Nina, at the end of 1954, followed by the sickness of both parents-in-law, as well as the death of his own mother. Nonetheless he managed to compose this dazzling score which shows no trace of the difficulties he was suffering. The Gadfly was destined to become one of the most popular and memorable works he had ever written.Our restoration is based entirely on Shostakovich’s own hand written manuscript, as well as the original soundtrack, which was clearly supervised by the composer himself. We sincerely hope he would have approved of our faithful restoration.”
Conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald is well-known for performing the very specialised task of accompanying silent films live with orchestra, with much success in many countries and festivals throughout the world. Described as “one of the indispensable Shostakovich interpreters of our time”, Mark Fitz-Gerald has performed the Trauberg/Shostakovich classic New Babylon (1929) to great critical acclaim. With the help of Mrs Irina Shostakovich and Krzystof Meyer he restored the complete score to another Trauberg/Shostakovich film, Odna (1929), and his restoration is now published in the new complete edition of the composer’s works. His critically acclaimed recording of Odna [8.570316] was followed by the no less successful The Girlfriends and other previously unrecorded works [8.572138].
The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz was founded in Landau in 1919. Overseen by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate since 1998, the Staatsphilharmonie is the largest and most important orchestra of the state, thus contributing to essential orchestral provision in the Palatinate. It is also considered the symphony orchestra of the metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar. Regionally and internationally, it acts as the envoy of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. Its stylistic range extends from the great symphonies and music theatre productions to film music and silent film projects. Even during its founding years, with conductors such as Richard Strauss and Hermann Abendroth, the orchestra drew cross-regional attention. In particular, principal conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach and Leif Segerstam – today the honorary conductor of the orchestra – helped the orchestra gain an international reputation. In addition, the orchestra contributes to international music life with many guest appearances. The Staatsphilharmonie holds regular guest concerts in the major concert halls in and outside Europe and is a popular guest at major international music festivals.
The Bachchor Mainz, directed by Ralf Otto, has acquired an excellent reputation far beyond Germany, not least because of its varied choral music repertoire that ranges from the 16th century to the present. The choir was founded in 1955 by Diethard Hellmann. Since 1986 his successor as choirmaster and artistic director, Ralf Otto, has been continually broadening the range of the ensemble’s programme, focussing specifically on rarely performed works and contemporary music. In Mainz Ralf Otto has established an intensive exploration of historical performance practices affirming the ensemble’s unique presence. The Bachchor Mainz has released numerous recordings and been broadcast widely. The cooperation with guest conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Sylvain Cambreling, Michael Gielen, Eliahu Inbal, Georges Prêtre and Franz Welser-Möst is a sign of the choir’s outstanding quality. The Bachchor Mainz appears regularly at important festivals and concert halls at home and abroad.
[11-CD Boxed Set]