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November-December 2008, "American Record Guide" magazine

These are arrangements of a selection of Shostakovich's preludes and ballet music for oboe, cello, flute, and chamber orchestra by the cellist Michail Utkin. The arrangements of the piano preludes for oboe and strings are astonishingly beautiful and true to their original character. The two Prelude and Fugues reworked for oboe, cello, and strings are also wonderful; they represent Shostakovich's very mature compositional style. The oboe preserves the sardonic nature of the music, while the cello and strings preserve the sobriety and darkness.
In the ballet music arrangements, the full complement of the chamber orchestra is added and a flute as well. The works come from three ballets: The Limpid Stream, The Bolt, and The Golden Age. To say that these musicians perform these works well is a bit understated-a bit like an apprentice admiring his master after doing a good job. I cannot imagine these works performed with more command, understanding, and character. This is a fantastic recording.


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