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Stéphane Friédérich, January 2020

Moussorgskian reminiscences, bittersweet humour, nostalgic and revolutionary songs, circus marches, borrowed from a few pieces for piano… Shostakovitch’s versatile genius plays with a sound mosaic that the orchestra of Mark Fitz-Gerald translates with great verve and clarity. © 2020

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2019

Fitz-Gerald conducts the proceedings with the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonic Rheinland-Pfalz and as needed the Mannheim Opera Choir under choirmaster and assistant conductor Dani Juris. The results are very good indeed.

Both scores are in some ways the Russian equivalent to Weill, ironic, boisterous and popular-music influenced at times, always in a rather rough-and-ready, rough-and-tumble mode. So we hear humorous gallops, bittersweet waltzes, folk-pop ditties and more besides, all of which sound quite Shostakovichian once you get used to it all.

This music should be of great interest to those already familiar with the composer. These are by no means flat-out masterpieces, nor are they the least bit tedious. Nonetheless those unfamiliar with his music might sample some of the symphonies first, for example the 7th… © 2019 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Records International, December 2019

1929’s The Bedbug was a surreal and farcical satire on Communist utopian dreams and bourgeois corruption and vulgarity. Shostakovich gave it a terrifically knockabout score that draws on local fireman’s bands and American dance music. Illustrated by Shostakovich’s powerful middle-period music, Love and Hate is a film about female fortitude set in a mining village during the 1919 Civil War. The innovative score, newly reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from rough piano sketches and the 1935 soundtrack, combines symphonic sections with popular songs. © 2019 Records International

Norbert Tischer
Pizzicato, November 2019

The music played here in Fitz-Gerald’s reconstruction combines symphonic sections with popular choral songs. It is a very serious and sometimes pompous music, for the composer certainly something more casual than a subject that would have really inspired him. The second composition of the CD was much better suited for him.

The excellent performances—premiere recordings, of course—make Shostakovich’s music very lively and attractive. © 2019 Pizzicato Read complete review

Victor Ignatov
Affiche musicale: Paris – Europe, November 2019

The event of the year was the first edition of the recording of D. Shostakovich’s music, written in 1929 and 1935, respectively, for V. Mayakovsky’s comedy “Bedbug” and A. Gendelshtein’s film “Love and Hate”. Extraordinarily colourful, expressive and figurative music brilliantly express the essence of these works, the full and detailed accuracy of which reveal the creative range of the composer, fascinated by vivid and bold experiments. Opuses 19 and 38 exhibit a phenomenal palette of strong and subtle emotions, glorifying the beauty and magic of the Russian soul. All 38 tracks on the album are performed excellently by the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz orchestra conducted by Mark Fitz-Gerald, who reconstructed the score of Shostakovich's music for “Love and Hate”. The highest praise goes to the Mannheim Opera choir and choirmaster Dani Juris. © 2019 Affiche musicale: Paris – Europe

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2019

Music used in a satire comedy play, The Bedbug, first staged in 1929, six years before the film Love and Hate, the music reconstructed from the film sound track. The excellent booklet details the two very different scores, the plot of both too extensive to detail here, The Bedbug oscillating between pure impossible make-believe and the desire to impress on the audience the folly of the dreams of Communism, and equally the evils of the Bourgeois. Not surprising the play won few friends in the official circles of both camps, and the result was far from a success. Details of the few performances are long lost, but the author of the play appears to have changed his mind many times over—the young Shostakovich, who was just twenty-three at the time—seemingly not held in high regard. So what we have is apparently all Shostakovich composed and we will never know if it was used. There is jazz, musical-hall and knock-about humour, and yet you are never in doubt who composed it. We have to thank the conductor, Mark Fitz-Gerald, for piecing it together, but it must have been a ‘labour of love’ to take down on manuscript the Love and Hate soundtrack. It extends to more than thirty minutes, and here runs to 22 tracks that include a part for chorus and a quite dense orchestration. It is a story of the women in a Russian mining village being left to fend for themselves when their men go to war, and they are physically exposed when another army arrives. Totally different to the music for The Bedbug, this is the serious Shostakovich but writing in his popular language. The film was seemingly ‘pushed to one-side’ after being first released in 1935, but it has enjoyed screenings in more recent times with the realisation that it contains an important musical score. This is one of a number of Shostakovich reconstructions Fitz-Gerald has made and we must be grateful to him, and to the performers for this excellent South-West German Radio recording made earlier in the year. Fervently recommended.  © 2019 David’s Review Corner

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