The Philips Kirov/Gergiev has been the obvious 1st choice for the complete score of this magnificent work-true, there is little competition but it would stand up well against ANY competition-especially the re-mastered issue in the "50th " set.
So is there any merit in considering this new LSO Live recording as an alternative or an add-on?
The answer is a qualified yes. LSO Live recordings vary in sound quality from simply awful (e.g Elgar 3rd Symphony/Davis) to rather good, if not brilliant (e.g Les Troyens/Davis).
The much praised and award -winning Gergiev set of Prokofiev Symphonies was a massive disappointment to me, sonically and artistically-sonically very constricted, performances dull.
This set is much better-the sound is still a touch dry, but there is much more space and detail than normal, and overall it is the best I have heard from this source-so the sound is fine!
The performance is RADICALLY different from the earlier one-much faster in general, less tempo variations in some numbers, much more in others.There are in addition extra numbers and additions to numbers, so there is more music than previously-ballet scores from Russia in this era vary enormously from edition to edition, as music was added for some preformances, removed from others.
So texturally it is interesting.
Gergiev's reading is very exciting at these often breakneck speeds, and the LSO play like demons (or angels?) with the weight of percussion and Heavy brass very well caught. Try the Dance of The Knights (yes, the Theme from the Apprentice UK!) and if you find that speed to your liking, you'll like it all well enough. For me, it's an interesting adjunct to his earlier reading which to my taste is still first choice-but this is a terric performance and and a pretty good recording. It's a tremendous bargain at amazon's price, so on those grounds alone I would advise everyone to buy it-if you are only going to invest in one recording, then the Krov (Maryinsky) is a wonderful performance and a superb recording and would be first choice. Best advice-get them both and enjoy comparing. If you've got the earlier set, go for this one too.It is certainly different enough to warrant it. Stewart Crowe.