Johann Strauss. “The Pleasure Train”. Polka
Grand Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic where it was performed by the Philharmonic’s symphony orchestra under the baton of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky.
Johann Strauss’s Polka The Pleasure Train
Orchestrated by Dmitri Shostakovich
The concert premiere of Johann Strauss’s polka orchestrated by Shostakovich in 1941 was held on 18 September 1978 in the Grand Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic where it was performed by the Philharmonic’s symphony orchestra under the baton of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. The polka brought the concert to a close, the first part of which saw the debut of Shostakovich’s unfinished opera The Gamblers.
The polka The Pleasure Train was recorded in 1979, and in 1980 it came out on a gramophone record in the ‘From Manuscripts of Different Years’ series, which revived many of Shostakovich’s unknown and forgotten compositions. On 14 August 1981, the piece was performed abroad during the Promenade Concert at London’s Albert Hall (BBC orchestra, conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky).
Johann Strauss's polka orchestrated and arranged for the staging of an operetta and becoming one of the prominent items in The Gypsy Baron, does not only feature in the operetta genre context of Shostakovich’s creative work. It naturally stands alongside his other orchestrations such as Tahiti Trot by Youmans and Scarlatti’s sonatas.
Composed for an operetta, the transcription of the polka The Pleasure Train also proved to be another of Shostakovich’s contributions, small but vibrant, to ballet music.