Suite from the Opera “The Nose”
Moscow Conservatory Bolshoi Hall. Sovphil Orchestra, Nikolai Malko (conductor)
Collected Works. Vol. 23. M., Muzyka
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, section 1, f. 20 (score)
Suites based on earlier compositions occupy an important place in Dmitri Shostakovich’s creative heritage. However, the Suite based on the opera The Nose is a special case in point. Shostakovich began writing the opera in the summer of 1927 and finished it in the summer of 1928, but even before its completion, by 5 June 1928, he had joined seven fragments of the first and second acts into a Suite for concert performance (Op. 15a), consisting of the following movements:
1. Overture (Introduction to Act One).
2. Kovalyov’s Aria (excerpt from the scene in the newspaper editorial office, Act Two, Scene 5).
3. Entr’acte from Act One (between Scenes 2 and 3).
4. Entr’acte from Act Two (between Scenes 5 and 6).
5. Ivan’s Song (beginning of the scene in Kovalyov’s Apartment, Act Two, Scene 6).
6. Kovalyov’s Monologue (from the same scene).
7. Galop (Act One, instrumental episode between Scenes 3 and 4).
The premiere of the Suite was performed on 25 November 1928 in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory by the Sovphil (Sovetskaya Philarmonia Joint-Stock Company). Orchestra under the baton of Nikolai Malko, Dmitri Shostakovich’s conductor teacher and, by that time, the first interpreter of his first two symphonies. Several transcriptions by Shostakovich were performed for the first time during the same concert—Two Pieces by Domenico Scarlatti (Op. 17) for wind ensemble and Vincent Youmans’ Tahiti Trot from the musical No, No, Nanette for symphony orchestra.
The closest date (and the only one established at present) of the performance of the Suite during the composer’s lifetime in subsequent years in the Soviet Union is 13 December 1966. It evidently took place on the initiative of conductor Igor Blazhkov and under his baton in the Grand Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic (Honoured Collective of the Republic, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, soloists
A. Manukhov and V. Andrianov).
A few years prior to this, the first recording of Opus 15a appeared in the West, done at a symphony orchestra concert of Italian radio and television (Rome RAI Symphony Orchestra) on 13 April 1963 in Rome (conductor Franco Mannino, soloists Tommaso Frascati and Paolo Pedani). The vocal parts were performed in Italian.
There was no publication as such. Universal Edition only prepared the facsimile copy from the manuscript. But in so doing, a publication number was assigned to the sheet music fastened with a clip. This was a widespread practice in those years, and in this form the score could be issued for performance, but only for hire.
In 1977, G. Schirmer Publishers published a separate fragment of the Suite—Entr’acte for Percussion
(No. 3). The first full publication of the composition came out in 1986 as part of Shostakovich’s Collected Works (Vol. 23) at Muzyka Publishers retaining Universal Edition’s copyright.
- Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloists: Jindrak J., Lobl L. Conductor: Rozhdestvensky G.N. 1973
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