Our Recording of the Monthfeatures music by Shostakovich, but not, perhaps, as you know him. Some composers struggle to express a lighter side, but the Soviet giant was an all-rounder as this catchy new recording of music for jazz and variety ensemble attests ( BIS BIS2472 ). American maestro Andrew Littonleads the Singapore Symphony Orchestrain suites that take a dive into the worlds of café culture, Soviet agriculture, film scores and a ballet about a Soviet footie team – I kid you not – making for a delightfully variegated listen.

On the Record

As Rebecca Franks points out, “Litton himself is the pianist for the band – and it definitely is a band rather than an orchestra, echoing 1920s German cabaret and Kurt Weill. The dance rhythms – waltz, polka, foxtrot – are utterly clear, every solo has space to shine, and the music often raises a smile.” Other music comes from The Age of Gold and The Limpid Stream , ballets which show more serious sides to the composer. It’s rounded off with Shostakovich’s...