Shostakovich's Waltz No 2; for Accordion
Waltz No 2 from 'Second Suite for Jazz Orchestra' by Dmitri Shostakovich has been arranged for accordion by Nikolai Ryskov. A review of his arrangement appeared in the November 2006 edition of Accordion Profile, however Nikolai has now revised his arrangement. Here is a review of Nikolai Ryskov's recently revised version.Although Shostakovich (born a hundred years ago on 25th September, 1906) wrote two Suites for Jazz Orchestra, in 1934 and 1938, both containing three movements, what is erroneously described above as the Second Suite for Jazz Orchestra is in fact the Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra, written during the second half of the 1950s. It consists of eight movements, of which the Second Waltz is the seventh movement and each movement derives from ballet, incidental and film music pieces written by Shostakovich during the 1920s-1950s. The Second Waltz comes from the film “The First Echelon” Op 99, written 1955-56 and appropriately has been used in Stanley Kubrick's last film "”Eyes Wide Shut”. (The reason for the confusion is that the genuine Second Jazz Suite was lost and only brought to light in 1999.)
The piece is well suited to the accordion and if Shostakovich had written accordion solos they probably would have sounded like this piece. The waltz has already been arranged for accordion solo with optional 2nd accordion by Otto Eckelmann in an album published by Ecora Verlag, although it does contain some minor inaccuracies in the Stradella bass part. I have arranged the work for accordion quintet and have the benefit of the full orchestral score published by DSCH Publishers, Moscow, edited by Manashir lakubov in 2001.
Although Shostakovich uses a large orchestra, with 43 different instrumental parts of which the accordion and guitar are just two, the piece is quite simple and he uses different combinations of instruments to give a different sound colour each time the tunes are repeated. There are three sections, in D minor, F major and B flat major and the whole piece lasts no more than three minutes and it is moderately easy to play. Nikolai Ryskov has done an excellent job and has arranged the piece so that it contains its essential character, including the subtlety of the chords, yet managing to keep the piece playable by the most accordionists. Some arrangements, in attempting to simplify, can miss out important notes, resulting in a bland sound. This is not the case here and by careful attention to the marked dynamics a very musical performance can result from this arrangement.
Although Nikolai’s original arrangement was simply marked 8, 8~, 4 for the treble registration throughout, this revised edition has now included a number of changes of registration. This follows Shostakovich’s intentions where he varies the timbre by the use of different orchestral combinations and results in a more interesting rendering. Two other revisions which improve the arrangement are:
- the ongoing waltz rhythm is now played throughout by left hand chords, which, in the original arrangement, was interrupted in the section between bars 28 to 38 and
- the initial introduction is played each time before the main D minor tune is heard.
These are just minor amendments, which further improve an arrangement that I believe is well worth buying.
Ordering information for the work reviewed above:
Waltz No 2 from Second Suite for Jazz Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich
Arranged for Accordion by Nikolai Ryskov
£5 including postage & packing.
Cheques payable to Nikolai Ryskov
at 15, Chaffinch Road,
Beckenham, Kent, BR3 4LT
(Phone 0208 325 8147)
If you are familiar with the original arrangement,
and just want to know what Nikolai changed, Peter Ayers writes:
I reviewed this arrangement in the November 2006 edition of Accordion profile. I found the arrangement well worth buying, although I there were just three minor criticisms that I felt needed consideration. Nikolai Ryskov has now revised the arrangement in line with my suggestions and so I feel that I should point these out. They are as follows:
- The revised edition has now included a number of changes of registration. This follows Shostakovich’s intentions where he varies the timbre by the use of different orchestral combinations and results in a more interesting rendering.
- The ongoing waltz rhythm is now played throughout by left hand chords, which, in the original arrangement, was interrupted in the section between bars 28 to 38. This allows the piece to maintain its momentum.
- The initial introduction is played each time before the main D minor tune is heard.
Although these are just minor amendments they further improve an arrangement that I believe is well worth buying.”