Folk Festival (1998)
Dmitri Shostakovich

Festival Series 554 (publ. 1999)
Duration: approx. 2:30

Try as you might, you won't find many pictures of Dmitri Shostakovich smiling.  It might be because he spent most of his life living under the Soviet system; it might be because under that regime his music was banned - twice, in fact.

Whatever the reasons, it amazes me that under desperate, depressing circumstances, Shostakovich produced what, for me, is the most joyous of Russian music.

Russian composer Levon Atovmyan used the musical material of Shostakovich to compile the suite of music for the film The Gadfly (1955). Atovmyan took various works by Shostakovich and changed the sequence of items, wrote bridge episodes, transposed and re-orchestrated certain passages in order to weave together the film’s delightful score.

Folk Festival features during a scene called At the Market Place. The piece has also been performed on the concert stage as the third movement from a suite under the title Popular Festivity (as alluded to in the sleeve notes for the ISB release Odyssey, even though my transcription was made from The Gadfly material).

Recording by
Metro Brass
from their album
Song of Exuberance (2001)

Folk Festival.mp3

(No sample score pages at this time)

Back in 1998, with a cassette recording of Music from The Gadfly by the USSR Cinema Symphony Orchestra in hand, I went to the Barbican Library in London in search of the film score. I had a list of my favourite tracks from the film, Folk Festival being number one. The scores were in a reference copy book so, not being permitted to take the book away, I had to sit in the library and hand write my sketches (of Folk Festival and two other episodes: Romance/Barrell Waltz and Galop) there. 

The music of Dmitri Shostakovich has proved a success in Salvation Army journals with fine arrangements of Festive Overture (FS 500, 1993) by Barrie Gott and Folk Dances (FS 512, 1994) by Torgny Hanson established as favourites among bands and audiences alike.  I hope that the same appeal comes from playing and listening to Folk Festival. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- Other recordings ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Building the Faith

Sounds of the Seasons 2003 (2003)

Sounds of the Seasons 2000 (2000)
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