World-Premiere Recording of Shostakovich “Odna” (“Alone”) Film Score
Sessions for the world première recording of the complete music for Shostakovich’s second film Odna (Alone) with the Hessischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) under the British conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald, took place at HR-Sendesaal in Frankfurt, Germany during the last week of November 2006. Set in late 1920s Leningrad and then in the Altai Mountains in Russian Mongolia, the film boasts a dazzling score, reconstructed by Fitz-Gerald and others from the official Russian version of the film. It calls for a huge orchestra including a banda (8 brass band instruments), theremin, (Shostakovich was the first composer to write for this new electronic instrument), barrel-organ, a soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, a Mongolian throat singer (performed on the recording by the Dutch ethnomusicologist Mark van Tongeren) and choir. Mark Fitz-Gerald writes: ‘The music is fabulous – highly dramatic and symphonic, especially in the scene in which a sheep-trader throws the schoolteacher heroine [sent to teach the children of the shepherds] out of his sled, leaving her (he thinks) to die in the extreme cold.’ The recording also includes a beautiful, lyrical prelude that was not used in the film.
The vocal soloists were Irina Mataeva (soprano), Anna Kiknadze (mezzo soprano) and Dmitri Voropaev (tenor) and the choral sections were performed by the Choir of the Frankfurt Conservatory.
The recording sessions were produced and engineered by Hans-Bernhard Bätzing and Thomas Eschler.