Bruce Monsaingeon ~ The Red Baton: Scenes of Musical Life in Stalinist Russia ~ DVD
Three fascinating programs on this DVD. Two documentaries by Bruno Monsaingeon, and two performances by the Symphony Capella Orchestra and Choir of Russia, directed by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. The first documentary explores the paradox that despite the hardships and dangers facing musicians t here, the Soviet Union became one of the richest musical arenas of the 20th Century. The second program, titled Gennadi Rozhdestvensky: Conductor or Conjurer follows the conductor in masterclasses and rehearsals of Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and Schnittke’s Dead Souls. As extras, the DVD contains full-length performances of Schnittke’s Dead Souls, and Prokofiev’s Zdravitsa, a cantata composed for the celebration of Stalin’s 60th birthday in 1939. 155 minutes total running time.