My Favourite Scores – 1932

  • Golden Mountains (Zlatye Gory)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Capriccio / 1995 / 23:36

Released in the US in 1932, Golden Mountains was Shostakovich’s third composition for the cinema and the film follows country peasant Pyotr as poverty drives him to the city to work in a factory to earn a living. The 6-movement suite, played in the recording I have by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Michail Jurowski, was assembled by the composer shortly after it was composed in 1931.

What particularly attracts me to this suite from the score is that it immediately grabs the listener with the shrill brass fanfares and then the shrill brass re-appears at various points throughout the suite (and particularly in the final movement). These loud statements are set against the more sombre 4th and 5th movements. I remember being particularly surprised to hear the guitar solo that is heard at the beginning of the Waltz and the use of a grand organ to open the next movement (Fugue). It all emphasises to me what variety someone of Shostakovich’s calibre was doing in film music at the time (though I believe that the organ music featured in the Fugue does not appear in any current prints of the film.)

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