Book Reviews 48

Music of the Soviet Era: 1917-1991 (second edition)

The Gadfly, opus 97 (Original orchestration, full score)

Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, opus 87 /

Music of the Soviet Era: 1917-1991 (second edition)
Levon Hakobian
Abingdon: Routledge (2017)
512pp; 30 music examples
ISBN: 978-1-472-47108-6 (hbk)
978-1-315-59682-2 (ebk) £35.99

History is written by the victors. But often it’s rewritten every couple of generations. Not only will the onslaught of events have rendered the previous studies’ cut-off points ancient, but our perceptions of those events change with new information, different approaches, and changing biases.

Boris Schwarz’s Music and Musical Life in Soviet Russia (Indiana University Press, 1983) has long been a fixture on bibliographies, though even before the 21st century it was increasingly being qualified as an incomplete record. Hakobian entered the lists with Music of the Soviet Age (1917-1987) (Melos, 1998), though, as exciting as its revelations
and insights were, writing in the tumultuous immediate post-Soviet years made broader reflection difficult. Francis Maes’ A History of Russian Music from Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar (University of California Press, 2006) sat uncomfortably, with one foot planted firmly in the 19th century and the other meeting an arbitrary (if clearly important) cut-off point. Since then, and often drawing on newly revealed materials, there have been valuable studies of many aspects of Soviet music, not simply traditional musicology, but analyses of the political context and bureaucratic structures, insightful biographies and composer-studies, and studies of particular genres or works. But, despite all that, here has been no satisfactory over-arching study of only the Soviet period.

In addressing this lacuna, Hakobian’s ambition is huge: interleaving his history with pen-portraits and musical analyses of significant works. It succeeds across these fields to a remarkable degree, and we must extend a huge welcome to what will doubtless be one of this generation’s standard reference books.

The apparatus alone is almost worth the price of entry: a 50-page index of names and musical works (though, sadly, not subjects or organisations); a 26-page bibliography; around 1,000 footnotes, and a Chronological Table (musical works; books; important musical events; major awards; emigration and immigration, and births and deaths) that runs to 90 pages. Which still leaves over 300 pages for the text.

But this is no “never-mindthe-quality-feel-the-width” exercise. Hakobian brings piercing insights to the study and is not afraid of expressing some trenchant views. He points to the paradox that interest in Soviet music—at least from recording companies—is largely driven from the West, with comparatively litde activity in Russia: it is interesting to note a similar division over the marking of the centenary of the Revolution. He refuses to fall under the spell of some major names and compositions: for instance, his praise for Weinberg’s The Passenger, while generous, is less than comprehensive, and he concludes that his career was not dented by his Jewish or Polish roots, but by being seen as Shostakovich’s epigone. But this is to race ahead. Hakobian’s book is a standard history in the sense that it goes from the start to the finish, stopping off en route for appropriately proportioned studies of this or that composer, incident of musical work.

Among the moments of Soviet music history revisited is the battle between ACM and RAPM. Initially seen as at daggers drawn, later shadings showed them sharing members (including, if perhaps cynically, Shostakovich), and with RAPM compositions not always completely in tune with the organisation’s rhetoric. Hakobian initially expresses some sympathy for the older view, though his discussions of RAPM-member Roslavets admit his avant-gardism. It was, in fact, aesthetic politics that drove him and fellow modernists (whether RAPMists or ACMists) such as Popov and Polovinkin to turn to the blandness that might previously have been thought the quintessence of RAPMism. For Hakobian, the later works of Popov “seem to be of inferior quality,” while Polovinkin’s “do not really rise above the average.” But he still wants to give the organisation its due, recognising the old blackand-white view as a distortion, and reviving his claim of Shostakovich’s rapprochement with their ideals in the late 1950s, and in particular in the Eleventh Symphony (Shostakovich Studies 2, reviewed in DSCH 35). Similarly, the complexities of 1948 are teased apart: a basic chronology shows how events developed and how Asafiev was one of the key instigators while Khrennikov, it could be argued, played a more protecting role.

Clearly, one of the book’s “stars” is Shostakovich, and chapters (or significant parts) are devoted to his rise, the Lady Macbeth affair, his rehabilitation, 1948, and the years  1953-75. But the composer is not beyond reproach: moments of less-than-honourable behaviour are not glossed over and, apart from the Eleventh Symphony, the late ‘50s was not a creative highpoint: the Sixth String Quartet is “bland,” the Second Piano Concerto “childish” and Cheryomushki “musically mediocre […] with an inane plot.” In contrast, The Nose and the Fourteenth Symphony are career highpoints, and Hakobian has some fascinating thoughts on each, relating the opera to the work of OBERIU writers (particularly Kharms) and discussing the symphony’s potential relationship to the Mass. Of course, there’s no chance of Shostakovich and Prokofiev being toppled (and in these pages, no desire for that), but Hakobian does balance their influence with introductions to lesser-known figures. A few pages are given to each of eight of Shostakovich’s pupils—ground also covered by Fanning (Fay, 2004) and Blois (Mishra, 2008); six of “the avant-garde of Moscow,” and some “independents.” Not all of these are praised—a common trajectory being a falling-off in quality, even in composers whose early works are hailed. After a brilliant, stylistically omnivorous start, Slonimsky lost his way in the 1970s, and his later work is dismissed as “styleless, schematic, and repetitive.” Even some of Schnittke’s late works give “the impression of being written on auto-pilot.” Against that, Hakobian’s view of art as a socially and spiritually engaged act sees him praising Gubaidulina as one of the greatest post-Shostakovich figures, who has continued her commitment to combining avant-gardism, intelligibility, emotionality, and spirituality after 1992.

These assessments are often well-balanced, and even single-sentence appraisals of this or that work are perceptive, but still, some of the portraits could have been longer. For instance, the three-page discussion of Volkonsky includes a digression on Philip Herschkowitz, who surely merits a couple of pages of his own. The bibliography does point to other sources (though often in Russian and hard to access). Various books published by Ernst Kuhn are more expansive, but are a decade old and based on Russian texts from the mid-1990s: to see Hakobian update these and add his own opinions would have been welcome. But of course, that would have lengthened an already lengthy tome.

Despite appearances, Hakobian’s book isn’t comprehensive—were such an achievement possible—though the omissions are understandable and to be expected in a history of Soviet “classical” music. So, while folk music was an important phenomenon at various times for various reasons, there is little about it in its pure form, though its influence on composers such as Slonimsky is noted. Similarly, Soviet amateur music, and music for theatre, film, etc., are lightly covered, and of course pop, rock, and jazz—vast subjects in themselves—are beyond its scope. 20-odd pages cover three areas “outside Russia” and their dominant composers, though the major figures crop up throughout the book: Trans-Caucasia (Kancheli, Terterian, Mansurian, and the “school” of Garayev), Ukraine (Silvestrov and his masterful Fifth Symphony—perhaps, overall, Lyatoshinsky gets short shrift), and the Baltic States, where the wealth of talent means that even Part gets only a page.

But this is to criticise the book for what it was never intended to be. Soviet classical music was a huge project, and unpicking it is comparably difficult. What Hakobian has given us is an up-to-date road-map, reliable both in the facts that it presents and, generally speaking, in the opinions it espouses. It will be invaluable not only for those wanting an initial orientation as to the events, but also for getting some sense of the paths worth further investigation. It is hard to imagine Hakobian’s study not being the standard history for
many years to come.

John Leman Riley

The Gadfly, opus 97 (Original orchestration, full score)
Novoe Sobraine Sochinenii (New Collected Works), volume 138
Moscow: DSCH Publishing (2016)
Hardback. ISMN 979-0-706427-16-4
€ 83.00

DSCH Publishing’s releases of  Shostakovich’s film scores are hugely welcome; compared, for example, to the symphonies or string quartets, this is still an under-researched part of his output. The English literature includes valuable studies of particular films by Michelle Assay, Hélène Bernatchez, Fiona Ford, Erik Heine, and others, and the first volume of Joan Titus’ projected trilogy on Shostakovich’s film career was reviewed in DSCH 47, but there is clearly still much to be said. As with any music, access to the score makes study far easier. But while it’s valuable to have definitive scores for the well-known works, his music for film, theatre, etc., is much less familiar, so it must be hoped that these publications will encourage performances and recordings, beginning a virtuous circle of activity.

Of course, film scores are unlike symphonies. Usually regarded as Gebrauchsmusik, the editorial work at the time of composition and recording is often done on the fly and is the bare minimum to achieve the desired effect on the soundtrack. After that, there’s little incentive to return to the manuscripts to collect, collate, edit, and correct them to match the soundtrack. Film companies (often the owners of the material) see no use for it, and the composer may not have access, even if they are interested. Hence, publication—perhaps decades after the event—is hugely problematic: materials maybe incomplete or confusing, or there may be multiple, contradictory versions, reflecting various stages of the writing, editing, and recording process. Understanding how they relate to the film and to each other is difficult enough: there’s then the issue of how they can be turned into something that would give a satisfying musical experience: separated from the images, their occasional fragmentariness can be ineffectual and become wearing.

These issues affect many of Shostakovich’s film scores to some degree or other. But at least Atovmian’s suites made some of the music available in some form; it’s notable that those scores that didn’t enjoy that treatment tended to languish neglected. The old Collected Works (1987)—primarily volumes 41 and 42—added to the fund, but these were often extremely faulty (for example, the incomplete and randomly ordered Alone was the basis of two “complete” recordings, where the score was further edited by the conductors). However, to create those popular suites, Atovmian often made massive changes to the original scores. Hence latter-day editors face a choice: to be true to the original soundtrack, or to go some way towards following Atovmian to produce an enjoyable listening experience.

Given all that, it is unsurprising that DSCH is releasing the film scores quite slowly: so far, of the complete scores, we only have New Babylon and Alone (both volumes reviewed in DSCH 24), and, in a single volume, the two animated films The Tale of the Priest and The Silly Little Mouse (DSCH 27). These overcame and succumbed to some of the challenges outlined above as, doubtless, will forthcoming volumes. At one extreme, The Man with a Gun (1938), The Fall of Berlin (1950), and Hamlet (1964), have been edited to the point where, negotiations allowing, they could be published without too much difficulty. Conversely, The Counterplan (1932) presents acute aesthetic problems, and for still others no material has yet been discovered. The films between those two extremes require more or less editorial work on existing materials.

Ironically, one of Shostakovich’s most popular film score suites—The Gadfly—is one of those that was most altered from the soundtrack. To list the changes would be inordinately time-consuming. Many of our favourite pieces are very different from what you would hear in the film. While some pieces remained relatively intact, some were re-orchestrated, and some—including one of his greatest hits—were radically restructured; the very first bars of the score are not in the film. Incidental to this are the many re-orchestrated re-uses of various pieces in other works (some have been recorded, and DSCH has reviewed them).

Atovmian created his 12-movement suite from the film’s 29 tracks, though since some of those are reprises and slight variants, he excluded very little thematic material. Often his decisions were to facilitate performance (a large part of the point of the suite was, after all, to generate money-making performances and recordings for the composer). So he orchestrated the organ pieces, and excluded rarer visitors to the orchestra, the mandolin and two guitars. Though the score makes no comment, one of the guitar parts goes down to a C below the sixstring instrument’s bottom E, making a seven-string instrument preferable. The original soundtrack does present some problems that are insuperable, either in publication or recording. The most notable is the Ivesian moment when the Gadfly walks across a town square and the soundtrack—reflecting what he hears—melds a church choir with the popular Neopolitan song Caro mio ben, all underpinned by Shostakovich’s Barrel Organ—the only piece that survived into print.

The scores popularity means there have been many publications of selections in innumerable arrangements: Hulme, sensibly, felt that comprehensiveness was impossible and contented himself with noting the most significant examples. Atovmian’s suite was published in 1960, but the original score appeared in volume 42 of the old Collected Works, though that was only 19 items, and in random order. This new edition comprises a corrected and correctly ordered reprint of those, plus the additional pieces, either from additional manuscripts or transcribed from the film.

In addition to the soundtracks 29 pieces are three supplementary pieces—two for organ and one arrangement. The Confession is a Shostakovich original and the Ave Maria a transcription of a piece by the 15th century composer Antoine de Fevin. Both are rare Shostakovich organ pieces which were dropped from the film: the Ave Maria was replaced with Bachs Dona nobis pacem from the B Minor Mass. The third piece is Yevgeni Larichevs arrangement of Guitars, a lightly changed version that accommodates six-string  instruments. This was published as a supplement to the old Collected Works edition.

The score and supplementary pieces (edited by Viktor Ekimovsky) comprise 165 pages. The apparatus comprises a contextual note by Marina Raku, (11 pages in Russian; ten in English); Ekimovsky s bar-by-bar commentary (respectively seven and eight pages), and Raku’s description of the manuscript sources (four pages in each language). From there we learn something of the unpublished variant pages; presumably, among Shostakovich’s sketches and rejected experiments, which are very different from what was finally used. Finally, there are ten colour reproductions of manuscript pages.

The English translations are a little wayward (or, more accurately, over-literal), but not so much as in previous New Collected Works volumes, the oddest-sounding one here being the title of No. 25: “The Passage of Montanelli” (Prokhod Montanelli), which accompanies the Cardinal leaving the prison after visiting The Gadfly.

Physically, the volume is uniform with the New Collected Works edition: hardback, 30x22cm, dark blue with gold lettering. As with many of the New Collected Works volumes, The Gadfly is produced in a limited ed ition, just 500 copies. Again, the print is clear and the paper thick enough to prevent show-through, so this would be a fine volume to work from, either as a student or a performer.

Some of Shostakovich’s original orchestrations have been recorded before, but Mark Fitz-Gerald, as well as contributing to the editing of this edition, has conducted the premiere recording of the complete original score for Naxos (a disc that will be reviewed in the next edition of DSCH).

John Leman Riley

Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, opus 87
New Collected Works by Dmitri Shostakovich, volume 113
Moscow: DSCH Publishing (2015)
ISMN: 9790060130885
€ 98.00

Although the 24 Preludes and Fugues, opus 87 (composed in 1951-52) met a mostly hostile reception, the work was published by Muzgiz in 1952 and became broadly available. This first edition, which was not properly edited or proofread, was reprinted repeatedly in Russia. As the work gained popularity, editions appeared in the West in 1955 (Boosey & Hawkes), 1956 (Peters), 1957 (Sikorski), 1960 (Kalmus), and 1970 (MCA Music). The version published by Muzyka in 1980 (volume 40 of the old Collected Works), newly edited by Tatiana Nikolaeva, represented a significant improvement over earlier editions, but still lacked the precision of a carefully researched scholarly publication. Unfortunately, the paperback edition issued by DSCH in 2000 is yet another reprint of the 1952 edition with a number of new errors.

Volume 113 of the New Collected Works by Dmitri Shostakovich in 150 volumes (DSCH, 2015), prepared by three musicians: Victor Ekimovsky (editor-in-chief), Sergei Chebotaryov, and Larisa Gerver—is the first publication of op. 87 to be based on Shostakovich’s manuscripts.[1] In addition to a newly edited and corrected score (edited by Chebotaryov), the volume includes a historic overview by Gerver and bar-by-bar commentary by Chebotaryov. There are also two appendices.

In Appendix I, Gerver lists and analyses the four extant manuscripts of op. 87: (1) the main body of Shostakovich’s rough drafts (held at the Russian State Archive of Letters and Arts); (2) fragments of Shostakovich’s rough drafts (held at the Glinka All Russian Museum Association of Musical Culture); (3) Shostakovich’s fair manuscript of the full score (held at the Glinka All Russian Museum Association of Musical Culture); and (4) Shostakovich’s manuscript of the parts for 19 fugues and 2 preludes (held at the Dmitri Shostakovich Archive). Appendix I also includes a selection of 16 facsimile pages from these manuscripts.

Appendix II consists of a facsimile of Shostakovich’s manuscript of the parts for 19 fugues: nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14-24, and the Prelude no. 16 (mm. 21-78). Shostakovich intended these arrangements for performance by four pianists on two pianos, each pianist playing one voice, but some of the pieces are problematic; in fugues nos. 6, 14, 16, 20, and 24, he sometimes uses vertical notation to indicate several voices in place of one.[2] The facsimile, while incomplete (most of 19 fugues are missing at least one part), is a valuable supplement to the (as yet unpublished) facsimile of the fair manuscript, Shostakovich’s only full-score autograph of opus 87.

Chebotaryov’s resources for his editorial work include not only the fair manuscript and the manuscript of the parts, but also the first (1952) edition and the extant proofs for nos. 7 and 24. In comparing the fair manuscript with the 1952 edition, Chebotaryov encountered a myriad of discrepancies in articulation, slurring, agogic accents, and dynamics. In his view, these inaccuracies cannot be explained by a lack of time for proofreading, and there is no documentary evidence that Shostakovich checked the proofs. Chebotaryov’s description of typical editorial errors leaves no doubt that most of these discrepancies are due to an overly liberal attitude toward the composer’s manuscript, an often restrictive rigidity regarding musical graphics, and sloppy editorial work.[3] Chebotaryov’s task was to prepare an error-free new score that would match the original sources as closely as possible.

One of the most difficult and laborious aspects of this undertaking was to restore Shostakovich’s authentic articulation markings. Shostakovich’s handwriting is sometimes unclear, and it is particularly hard to decipher small signs such as accents and staccato dots. Chebotaryov’s restored articulation in preludes nos. 9, 11, 15, and 24, and fugues nos. 2, 5, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17 is accurate. For a number of fugues, including nos 2 and 19, he used (primarily) Shostakovich’s manuscript of the parts to verify articulation and other details. This strategy, although  not always noted in the bar-by-bar comments, was highly beneficial, but despite his careful work, there are a few misprints. For example, in Fugue no. 2, the subject has a slurred figure of two sixteenths and an eighth note: the figure in m. 4 should differ from the figures in mm. 1-2 “precisely in the absence of accent and dot,” but the dot remains (see Example l).[4]

Chebotaryov notes that discrepancies in slurring between the fair manuscript and the first edition were particularly noticeable, and argues that these misprints might be due to the large number of unusually long overlapping slurs in Shostakovich’s manuscript. When these longer slurs are combined with shorter ones, it can be difficult to determine the exact end of a phrase. These long slurs, typical of Shostakovich’s style, were tricky to reproduce, particularly in the fugues. The editors and engravers, Chebotaryov notes, “often divided these slurs in keeping with the rules of music graphics, but often contrary to the logic of phrase-building.”[5] Other discrepancies in slurring were the result of editorial changes, in preludes as well as fugues, “primarily to make fingering easier for the pianist.”[6] For example, in Prelude no. 5, the fair manuscript shows a long slur embracing the bass line through mm. 12-16, but in the first and later editions, this slur finishes at the end of m. 15, just before the final D of the melody in m. 16. In the present edition, the slur that Shostakovich drew in his manuscript is reproduced exactly. Many further examples of restored slurs and ties can be found in preludes nos. 5, 9, 14, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23, and 24, and in fugues nos. 6, 8, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, and 24.

Sometimes Chebotaryov corrects slurs “by analogy,” comparing a given passage with similar material in the same piece. This method proves reliable in some instances but not in others. One of the latter instances can be found in the Fugue no. 21. The playful character of this fugue is enhanced by Shostakovich’s detailed articulation. In the exposition, the first countersubject (alto, m. 23) is marked legato, while the second countersubject (bass, m. 43) is marked staccato. In the development, at m. 60, the pattern is reversed: the first countersubject (bass) is marked staccato while the second countersubject (alto) is marked legato. Shostakovich carefully marked this legato-staccato exchange in both his fair manuscript and his manuscript of the parts, and the articulation is correctly reproduced in the first edition. Chebotaryov’s elimination of the bass staccato “in the same way as in mm. 11, 23, 35, and others” spoils the humorous effect of the exchange and the subtle contrasting articulation.[7]

There are several ties marked in the fair manuscript that Chebotaryov does not mention (or perhaps did not notice). One of these is in Prelude no. 22: the fair manuscript has a tie linking the low Ds in mm. 67-68. This tie and the second D are missing from the 1952 edition, but the tied D can be heard in Shostakovich’s recording. Similarly, in the accompanying Fugue, there is a tie, present in both the fair manuscript and the part arrangement, linking the two soprano Gs in mm. 113-14.

Chebotaryov states that “the dynamic and agogic signs in the fair manuscript have been inserted precisely and clearly; all the hairpins and tempo deviation marks are arranged strictly on their places.”[8] In the first edition, however, he notes a large number of missing signs. Chebotaryov has duly inserted all the dynamic markings where they belong, as can be seen in preludes nos. 4, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, and 19, and fugues nos. 8, 13, 17, and 19-24. One of the very few details he missed is in Prelude no. 9: the pp at m. 38 in the fair manuscript is absent from his score and unmentioned in his comments. On the other hand, Chebotaryov did not hesitate to remove dynamic markings that he considered redundant. For example, in the Fugue no. 2, he deleted a ƒ sign in m. 48 because there is an earlier ƒ at m. 41. We know that Shostakovich often repeated dynamic markings in order to emphasise a sustained dynamic level. We cannot know now whether Shostakovich would accept Chebotaryov’s deletions, but it is clear that they do not enhance the underlying message and therefore do not seem convincing. To his credit, Chebotaryov as a rule acknowledges the deleted dynamic markings in his bar-by-bar comments.

Chebotaryov has corrected all instances of erroneous notation of rhythm in the previous editions: see, for example, preludes nos. 9, 14, and 19, and fugues nos. 18 and 19. Moreover, his meticulous attention to detail is evident in his efforts to retain Shostakovich’s signs indicating note distribution between the hands. Since the score contains no fingering, such signs are invaluable because they demonstrate how wide chords and complex textures can be tackled. These indications are particularly important in fugues nos. 13, 15, 17, and 24, to mention but a few.

A praiseworthy attempt has been made to use Shostakovich’s recordings foreword, Chebotaryov states that his bar-by-bar comments include references to tempos deciphered from the composers audio recordings,[9] and that these recordings also prove useful in identifying and confirming several editorial errors in the 1952 edition. In that edition, he states, “there are incidents of a clearly interpretational nature—some signs have been replaced with others or removed entirely from the text.”[10] He notes that in Prelude and Fugue no. 22, nine poco rit.-a tempo indications were removed. And with respect to Prelude no. 16, he observes that the rearrangement of a number of “opposite” hairpins (cresc.-dim.) in comparison with the fair manuscript resulted in a shift of phrase accents. “However, in his audio recording,” Chebotaryov continues, “[Shostakovich] follows the above-mentioned instructions, imparting to these pieces a particular emotional strength.”[11] Chebotaryov also changed the ties in mm. 35-36 of Prelude no. 14, explaining that “in this edition the music is printed in keeping with [the composers] interpretation.”[12]

But if Chebotaryov places such a high value on Shostakovich’s recordings, why does he provide such limited and often inaccurate information on them? His statement that Shostakovich recorded eighteen preludes and fugues (there are, in fact, only seventeen) most likely comes from Denis Plutalov’s doctoral thesis—the only source on Shostakovich’s recordings that Chebotaryov cites in the footnotes.[13] It is unclear which tapes, LP records, or compact discs Chebotaryov utilised, though his stated metronome indications for preludes and fugues nos. 17 and 18 are in accordance with Plutalov, who relied exclusively on the Revelation issues.[14] Both Chebotaryov and Plutalov, however, missed the important recording that Shostakovich made in France in 1958, which contains preludes and fugues nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 18, 23, and 24.[15] Since all of these—except for the Prelude and Fugue no. 18—are second recordings, they could have provided Chebotaryov with valuable comparisons regarding tempos, had he made an effort to analyse them. The Prelude and Fugue no. 24 included on this same disc was recorded not in 1958, as stated by Chebotaryov, but in 1952 in Moscow.

Had Chebotaryov heard Shostakovich’s inimitable performance of Prelude no. 18 on the French recording, he would have doubted the authenticity of the Revelation recording of the same work. The version on the Revelation disc is completely different, and is, along with the Prelude and Fugue no. 17, a forgery.[16] There is no documentary evidence in the Moscow audio archives that Shostakovich ever recorded Prelude and Fugue no. 17 there, and there are no other recordings under any label that contain this work.[17] It is regrettable that Chebotaryov supplied inauthentic tempos for the preludes and fugues nos. 17 and 18. Such misinformation is unwelcome in any edition, let alone this authoritative volume, especially when the error could easily have been avoided with more thorough research in the available literature. For the record, the tempos in Shostakovich’s performance of opus 87, no. 18 are as follows: quarter note = 69 (not 100) for the prelude, and half-note = 80 (not 70) for the fugue.

While Shostakovich’s recordings were not Chebotaryov’s main object of interest, wrong notes or incorrect rhythmic notation certainly were. He successfully corrected errors in many pieces: examples include Fugue no. 12 (at m. 64) and Fugue no. 24 (at mm. 28 and 144). In Fugue no. 21 he corrected an error (at m. 169), but missed the error at m. 193: in both the fair manuscript (see Example 2) and the manuscript of the parts (see Example 2a), there is a half note followed by a quarter note, but all editions, including this one, show three quarter notes (see Example 2b).

There is also a missed error in Fugue no. 22: in m. 60 in both the fair copy (see Example 3) and the manuscript of the parts (See Example 3a), the tenor’s E-natural is notated as a half note followed by a quarter note, and in his recording Shostakovich plays this measure exactly as notated. But in all editions—including this one—the E-natural is notated as a dotted half note (see Example 3b).

And finally, in the Prelude no. 23, the alto note on beat 3 of m. 13 is D-natural in the fair manuscript (see Example 4), but the incorrect D-flat printed in all previous editions has been reproduced yet again in this new volume (see Example 4a).

The reappearance of these errors is disappointing, particularly since they were discussed nine years ago in the pages of the DSCH Journal.[18] Neglecting research published in the only journal specifically dedicated to Shostakovich is not wise, and the situation seems even more strange when this research and other relevant materials were included in the late Derek Hulme’s well-known catalogue.[19] Had Chebotaryov done more adequate research, he could have eliminated those errors.

That said, this volume is still a valuable asset: it represents an attempt—sometimes successful and sometimes not—to present Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues in a scholarly way. Of all existing editions, this is the most informative and transparent. In addition, it is nicely printed on good paper with clear and spacious graphics that are easy to read. Undoubtedly, the main treasure—the first facsimile publication of the 19 fugues in Shostakovich’s arrangement by parts—makes this volume invaluable and indeed unique.

1. Sergei Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 254.
2. Chebotaryov, Appendix II, On the Author’s Manuscript of the Parts, p. 322.
3. Chebotaryov, Comments, pp. 254-256.
4. Chebotaryov, Comments to Fugue no. 2 in A minor, p. 256
5. Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 255.
6. Ibid.
7. Chebotaryov, Comments to Fugue no. 21 in B-flat major, bar 60, p. 274.
8. Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 255.
9. Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 256.
10. Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 255
11. Ibid.
12. Chebotaryov, Comments to Prelude no. 14, in E-flat minor, bars 35-36, p. 267.
13. See Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 256, notes 4 and 5. The Revelation issues are RV70001 and RV70003. Denis V. Plutalov, “Dmitry Shostakovich’s Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues Op. 87: An Analysis and Critical Evaluation of the Printed Edition Based on the Composer’s Recorded Performances,” Diss. PhD., Lincoln, Nebraska, 2010. See also Chebotaryov, Comments, p. 256, note 4.
14. This LP—French Columbia FCX 771—was reissued in Russia as Melodiya 33D 034479-80.
15. For a detailed analysis, see Sofia Moshevich, “Russian Revelation a Forgery: Who is Really Playing Shostakovich’s F minor Prelude and Fugue?” DSCH Journal 12 (2000), pp. 66-69.
16. On Prelude and Fugue no. 17 in A-flat major, see Raymond Clarke, in DSCH Journal 9 (1998), p. 75.
17. See Sofia Moshevich, Dmitri Shostakovich, pianist. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, 2004, pp. 134, 205, and 212.
18. Sofia Moshevich, “Opus Undiscovered,” DSCH Journal 27 (2007), p. 48.
19. Derek C. Hume, Dmitri Shostakovich Catalogue: The First Hundred Years and Beyond. 4th ed. (Lantham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 349.

Sofia Moshevich