“A Child’s Exercise Book” for Piano
Moscow. The House of Composers. D. Shostakovich.
1945, "Muzfond" Publishers, Moscow,
The hand-written score is in the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 2048, Inv. 2, Item 18) and in the RNMM (Stack 32, Item 79)
“A Child’s Exercise Book”
The collection A Child’s Exercise Book includes seven pieces written by Shostakovich for his daughter Galina in 1944-1945: No. 1 ‘March’ (C major); No. 2 ‘Waltz’ (A minor); No. 3 ‘The Bear’ (В major); No. 4 ‘Merry Tale’ (E minor); No. 5 ‘Sad Tale’ (G major); No. 6 ‘Clockwork Doll’ (B minor); and No. 7 ‘Birthday’ (A major).
The first version of A Child’s Exercise Book included six pieces, arranged in the order of the initial keys in the circle of fifths (Nos. 1, 2, 5, 4, 3, 6); however, this sequence of the pieces is not found in the editions of Op. 69. Right up until 1983, the editions of the collection included six pieces. The seventh piece, ‘Birthday’, composed for Galina’s 9th birthday (on 30 May 1945), was first published as part of A Child’s Exercise Book in Volume 39 of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Collected Works (Moscow, 1983).
The six pieces from A Child’s Exercise Book were first performed in 1945, at a meeting of the children’s music sector of the Moscow Branch of the Union of Composers.
The first recording of A Child’s Exercise Book (Nos. 1-7) was done by the author in Prague on 26 May 1947.
During the composer’s lifetime, A Child’s Exercise Book in full, as well as its individual pieces included in various children’s collections, were published repeatedly both abroad and in the Soviet Union. The pieces from A Child’s Exercise Book feature consistently in the repertoire of music schools, in methodological literature, in class hour scenarios and interactive lessons, during which the performance of the pieces alternates with stories about the composer and a description of the music.