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Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky; Lieutenant Kijé Suite CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 April 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000EQHS64
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,157 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Alexandre Nevsky, op. 78 - Lieutenant Kijé, suite op. 60 / Ewa Podles - Orchestre National de Lille, dir. Jean-Claude Casadesus

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I. R. Munday on 9 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I actually purchased this because it was Christmas and I realised I didn't have a performance of Lieutenant Kije and its the old winter lollipop "troika" (sleigh ride). However as far as I am concerned Kije has been completely eclipsed by the most marvellous performance here of "Alexander Nevsky" - and infinitely superior work anyway. It is a dramatic cantata in 7 parts for mezzo- soprano, chorus and orchestra, and was written as film music, albeit for Sergei Eisenstein, on the age old subject of conflict between cultures and races, i.e the darker, if not the darkest side of the human condition. How well Prokefiev expresses musically these themes; this is certainly a work that certainly deserves to be far more central in his repertoire as it is a wonderful score. The forces are odd: a French regional orchestra, a Latvian choir, a French conductor, and a polish mezzo. Yet from the open bars the orchestra conjure a vison of the bitter blizzard winds blowing off the Russian Steppes. The excellent orchestra, le Orchestre National de Lille-Region Nord have a clarity of line a firmness of structure and beauty of tone equally matched by all sections of the chorus. And this is a dense score making demands on strings, brass and percussion alike. The tempi are vigorous, languid and expressive as the score demands and M. Casedesus warrants close scrutiny of his career since he is quite excellent here. This all feels very Russian. And then in section 6 of the cantata we hear the Mezzo Ewa Podles - in fact a true contralto rather than a mezzo. What a voice; such beauty, tone and firmness of line, even without knowing the words, the sheer tone and expression of her voice, the sheer melancholic beauty of it, brings tears to the eyes.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Live 'Nevsky' and 'Kije': Also-Rans in Very Strong Competition 26 May 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Not content to have already brought out a very fine 'Alexander Nevsky' cantata with Dmitry Yablonsky conducting the Russian State SO, Naxos is issuing yet another version of the piece, along with the 'Lieutenant Kije' suite. These performances derive from live performances in Lille in 1994 and were previously released on Harmonia Mundi. If I'm not mistaken that release pretty much came and went without much critical comment which is a shame because these are good performances that have an extra bit of excitement from having been recorded in concert. Added to that the incredible performance in the 'Nevsky' "The Field of Death" by Ewa Podles, currently the world's richest-voiced contralto recorded here before she exploded onto the world scene, and you should have a winner. However, there is extremely strong recorded competition for 'Nevsky' and there is no way this release can go to the top of the heap. There is the exciting, if a bit quirky but undoubtedly authentically Russian, version by Gergiev and his Kirov orchestra and coupled with a coruscating 'Scythian Suite.' There is Abbado's recording with the Chicago Symphony (which I heard him conduct in concert with them and which remains one of my most indelible experiences) with 'Nevsky' and 'Kije' coupled with a marvelous 'Scythian Suite.' Other fine 'Nevsky' performances include those by Temirkanov, Slatkin and Previn.

A plus for this 'Nevsky', in addition to the contribution by Podles, is the sound of the Latvian State Choir. There is something about the Slavic choral sound that is not easily imitable by Western groups.

'Lieutenant Kije' has had even more recordings to compare with this outing. Again, for me the Abbado/Chicago recording is tops, with August Herseth's perkily nonchalant cornet solos setting the bar for all other contenders. The Lille performance is not negligible, and the budget price might be a deciding factor here, but if I'm not mistaken the Chicago version costs only a buck or so more than this one and it contains more music.

Exciting music, well played, but this issue is an also-ran in an extremely competitive field. The relatively short timing of 58:20 doesn't help.

Scott Morrison
Second half of this album has very different volume level from first half. 25 Mar. 2015
By Diogenes - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Seller is 5 Star. This particular Prokofiev recording is a "caveat emptor" though, because the two recordings on this one album have widely different volumes. If you fall asleep listening to the first recording, the second will blow your ears out.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Too Cool 3 Jan. 2007
By Mario S. Marino - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Great Seller - This is one of my favorite cd's - Too, Too Cool!
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