I think I’d describe this piece as mindlessly uplifting – it’s jolly and bombastic, and is probably best taken at face value without trying to ponder what was going through Shostakovich’s head when he was asked to write it for the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1947. I also have an entirely non-Russian happy memory to go with this piece: in 2014 I was interviewed on Radio 3 Breakfast by Petroc Trelawny. Once the engineer had checked that my phone connection was all ok, I had to wait on the line with the broadcast playing down the phone at me, and this was the piece they were played just before my interview. It made me all cheerful and confident, the perfect thing for eliminating my nerves.
Despite what Moscow propaganda claims, Russian culture isn’t cancelled in the West, but The Golden Cockerel, currently touring with ETO, may not be entirely to Putin’s taste.