Suite from the Ballet “The Golden Age”
Philharmonic Hall, Leningrad; Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Aleksandr Gauk (conductor).
"Muzgiz" Publishers, Moscow, 1935.
Glinka All-Russia Museum Association of Musical Culture, rec. gr. 32, f. 39 (autograph of the published edition of 4 numbers).
Suite from the Ballet
Shostakovich himself compiled the suite from the ballet The Golden Age, although conductor Aleksandr Gauk performed individual items from the future ballet even before the suite’s appearance. The suite was first performed in seven movements:
- Introduction and Waltz (these two movements were evidently performed without a break),
- Dance of the Diva (Music Hall),
- Dance of the Soviet Football Team.
The movements of the suite in the ballet corresponded to:
- The Overture (No. 1, which was called Introduction in the suite),
- Dance of the Maitres d’Hotel,
- Waiters and Waitresses (No. 2, which was given the neutral name of Waltz in the suite),
- Tap-Dance (No. 29),
- The Diva and Her Partner (No. 9, which was called Adagio in the suite),
- Polka (No. 30),
- Dance of the Soviet Football Team (No. 11)
We can only presume which item of the ballet the fifth movement of the suite—Dance of the Diva—was borrowed from. It was most probably the Tango (No. 28), which is part of the Music Hall divertissement in Act Three of the ballet.
At the end of 1932, the composer began talks about publication of the suite with Viennese publishers Universal Edition. One of the main reasons prompting Shostakovich and his mother to give The Golden Age to a foreign publishing house could have been the desire to protect the copyright to music that had become popular in the Soviet Union and abroad. The Soviet Union was not party to any international convention on copyright at that time. The generally accepted way to protect it beyond its borders was to enter contracts with foreign authors’ societies or with publishing houses that would become representatives of the Soviet authors abroad.
The contract with Universal Edition for publication of the suite from the ballet The Golden Age was signed by Dmitri Shostakovich on 10 August 1933.
The suite took its final form while being prepared for publication at Muzgiz. The author’s hand-written score of the suite from the ballet The Golden Age, designated as Op. 22 (later changed to Op. 22a), is stored in the Glinka All-Union Museum Association of Musical Culture.
The work on the manuscript ended, presumably, on the day or shortly before it was allowed for engraving indicated on the cover of this copy: “Engraving permitted. 21/VI 1934”.
The score was published by Muzgiz in 1935. In 1936, the orchestral parts of the suite were put out by the same publishers.
This final version of the suite consists of four movements. The names in the manuscript are given in Russian, whereas in the publication they are given in Russian and French.
The names in the 1935 edition:
No. 1. Introduction.
No. 2. Adagio.
No. 3. Polka.
No. 4. Danse.
In the first movement of the suite, No. 1 and No. 2 of the ballet are combined (they are performed one after the other without a break), while the next movements correspond to Nos. 9, 30 and 11.
After the full score of the suite from the ballet The Golden Age was published at Muzgiz, several foreign publishers reprinted it. Copying the music in full, they changed only the inscriptions on the title pages and the plate number. In 1946, the score was reprinted in New York by Edwin F. Kalmus Publishers, and in 1947 in London by Boosey & Hawkes. In 1943, copyright to the suite from the ballet The Golden Age was assigned to Wiener Philharmonischer Verlag, which collaborated with Universal Edition. However, the first editions of the pocket scores of the suites from the ballet The Golden Age were published by Universal Edition and Wiener Philharmonischer Verlag much later, in 1983 and 1996, respectively. Curiously, they were also reprinted from the first Soviet 1935 edition, though with the plate numbers of the Viennese publishing houses (UE 13140 and PH 535) on all the pages and the copyright sign on the first page. The score of the suite from the ballet The Golden Age was published again in the Soviet Union in 1987 in Volume 26 of Shostakovich’s Collected Works.
These publications made the suite extremely popular not only in the Soviet Union and Russia, but also abroad. The suite from the ballet The Golden Age became one of Shostakovich’s best known works in this genre; its rich discography includes performances of such major conductors as Howard Mitchell (1954), Jean Martinon (1957), Maxim Shostakovich (1966), Leopold Stokowski (1968), Bernard Haitink (1979) and Neeme Järvi (1989).
- National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, Howard Mitchell (conductor). // Westminster WL 5319, 1954
- Philharmonia Orchestra, Efrem Kurtz (conductor). 1955 // HMV BLP 1080, 1956
- London Symphony Orchestra, Jean Martinon (conductor). 1957 // RCA Red Seal SR 2051, 1959
- Philharmonia Orchestra, Robert Irving (conductor). 1961 // Capitol SP 8576, 1962
- Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Maksim Shostakovich (conductor) // Melodiya C01387-8, 1966
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski (conductor) // RCA Red Seal LSC 3133, 1968
- London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor). 1979 // Decca D 213D 2, 1980
- Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi (conductor). 1989 // Deutsche Grammophon 431 688-2GH, 1991.