Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Suite No.1 for jazz band (1934)
3. Foxtrot (Blues)
Shostakovich’s music is frequently described as ironic and satirical, but with an underlying sense of darkness and foreboding, and the Suite No.1 for jazz band is no exception. Combining aspects of opera, cabaret and Jewish music – of which Shostakovich was very fond – he composed the Suite in three contrasting movements. The work opens with a light, lilting waltz, and is quickly followed by a cheeky polka, the themes of both these movements being very popular with audiences at that time. As a result, he also used these melodies in some of his later ballet scores. The Foxtrot, which is subtitled Blues, but in the character of neither, has moments that are both comical and menacing, and is written in a style more akin to much of his later symphonic writing.