Three Fantastic Dances for Piano
At a graduation soirée at one of the Petrograd schools (presumably on Furshtatskaya Street).
Music Sector of Gosizdat marked as “Op. 1” (although on the last, 7th, page of this edition, they are designated as “Op. 5” in the list of musical works issued by the publishing house).
RSALA, rec. gr. 653, inv. 1, f. 2260. The second author’s manuscript (an earlier one), kept in St. Petersburg at the Manuscript Office of the Institute of Art History, rec. gr. 28, inv. 3, f. 1230.
Dedication: "To Iosif Zakharovich Schwarz"
Three Fantastic Dances
This work was written during the time Shostakovich studied at the Leningrad Conservatory. It was finished before the end of May 1922 and dedicated to Iosif Zakharovich Schwartz, a pianist and one of Professor Nikolayev’s favourite students and close friend.
The première took place at the end of May 1922 at a graduation soirée at one of the Petrograd schools, the same evening, Shostakovich performed the dances twice along with the cycle Two Fables by Ivan Krylov, Op. 4.
At the beginning of the 1920s, the author performed Fantastic Dances at almost every concert, and later they became his first published opus: in 1926, they were put out by the Music Sector of Gosizdat marked as “Op. 1” (although on the last, 7th, page of this edition, they are designated as “Op. 5” in the list of musical works issued by the publishing house).
The composition was published both in full (as a brochure) and as separate items included in different collections—the first edition of the entire cycle was issued by the Music Sector of the State Publishing House in 1926, while the first foreign edition came out in the USA in 1939. In 1940, Fantastic Dances were published in New York as part of an album of Shostakovich’s piano compositions. For several years, both in the Soviet Union and abroad, the composition was erroneously published as “Op. 1”.
The composition was repeatedly arranged for different formats—chamber instrumental ensembles (most often for solo instruments and piano) and orchestra (including orchestra of folk instruments).
- The work’s first Soviet recording, capturing the author’s performance that took place on 26 May 1947 in Prague, was put out by Melodiya in 1977.
- The first foreign recording was done in 1938 (performed by Eileen Joyce, Parlophone).
- In 1945, an arrangement of Dance No. 2 for violin and piano performed by Jascha Heifetz and Emanuel Bay (Decca Records, Brunswick Records/MCA Records) was recorded.