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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet (excerpts from orchestral suites)

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet - Highlights
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Claudio Abbado
  • Composer: Serge Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (12 Mar. 2013)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00000613N
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,353 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

ABBADO CLAUDIO / BERLIN P. O.

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Excellent!
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Format: Audio CD
People often accuse Abbado and Rattle of lowering the quality of the Berlin Philharmonic, wistfully looking back to the Karajan days. While it's true that the Berliners no longer have the homogenized string sound, that thick wall of sound, I've never understood why Abbado has been slammed for enabling greater freedom of playing. He hired new young virtuosos such as the renowned flautist Emmanuel Pahud, making for an entirely new dimension of playing. Under Karajan's iron grip, the Berliners didn't have much chance to display their own individuality. But with Abbado at the helm, the Berliners have a greater degree of freedom. Abbado's orchestra is very flexible, with a new ability to play with super-virtuoso lightness of tone.

This disc here, featuring highlights from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, shows Abbado and his orchestra at the height of their powers. Prokofiev's music asks for an interpreter who is very involved, yet a sensitive one, lest the romance and beauty be lost. Abbado fits the criteria perfectly, as his gifts enable him to be consistently interesting, yet never to the point where any of the beauty leaves. In such heroic numbers as "The Montague's and Capulet's" and "Tybalt's Death", Abbado is able to unleash high energy excitement while keeping a very clean, crisp tone. He's able to see the strife and the destined tragedy the young lovers will face while always keeping a romantic backdrop. The result is intentionally ambiguous, as we're constantly on a tight rope between strife and love. I certainly couldn't ask for anything more. Listening to the sheer beauty of tone in such numbers as "Juliet the Young Girl", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Juliet's Death" is bound to leave you fighting the tears--I've had to use my handkerchief more than once.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Theme music from "the Apprentice" and more on this cd. It's a good quality recording of Romeo and Juliet and well worth adding to your collection
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dazzling album from Abbado that captures the essence of the young lovers 30 Dec. 2011
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
People often accuse Abbado and Rattle of lowering the quality of the Berlin Philharmonic, wistfully looking back to the Karajan days. While it's true that the Berliners no longer have the homogenized string sound, that thick wall of sound, I've never understood why Abbado has been slammed for enabling greater freedom of playing. He hired new young virtuosos such as the renowned flautist Emmanuel Pahud, making for an entirely new dimension of playing. Under Karajan's iron grip, the Berliners didn't have much chance to display their own individuality. But with Abbado at the helm, the Berliners have a greater degree of freedom. Abbado's orchestra is very flexible, with a new ability to play with super-virtuoso lightness of tone.

This disc here, featuring highlights from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, shows Abbado and his orchestra at the height of their powers. Prokofiev's music asks for an interpreter who is very involved, yet a sensitive one, lest the romance and beauty be lost. Abbado fits the criteria perfectly, as his gifts enable him to be consistently interesting, yet never to the point where any of the beauty leaves. In such heroic numbers as "The Montague's and Capulet's" and "Tybalt's Death", Abbado is able to unleash high energy excitement while keeping a very clean, crisp tone. He's able to see the strife and the destined tragedy the young lovers will face while always keeping a romantic backdrop. The result is intentionally ambiguous, as we're constantly on a tight rope between strife and love. I certainly couldn't ask for anything more. Listening to the sheer beauty of tone in such numbers as "Juliet the Young Girl", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Juliet's Death" is bound to leave you fighting the tears--I've had to use my handkerchief more than once.

If you say that Abbado has struggled with faceless conducting in the past, there's probably some validity to your claim. Just how successful his track record is may be up for discussion, but one thing is for certain: he's achieved wonders here. Prepare for a rich musical journey that documents the desperate love that led to devastation.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Romeo around. Track 15 "Before parting" already deserves the full price 9 Oct. 2011
By dgg32 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Abbado has at least given two definitive Prokofiev recordings: Alexander Nevsky and this Romeo. This is my first Prokofiev's Romeo. That powerful opening descended like a thunder and was so unexpected that it might somehow overload and even damaged my pairs of loudspeakers.

The music making is excellent. After I compared it to Mravinsky's, Solti's, Salonen and the complete ballets from Maazel's, Previn's and Gergiev's, this set has not only the sonic advantages, but also benifited from the Berliner Philharmoniker's warm and silky fabrics.

I previously also wondered why Abbado didn't do the whole piece. Now after comparing the suites with the complete ballet, I kind of understand why.

1. The suites were modified for concerts and ballet was for dancing. For example, in "romeo and juliet before departing", the outburst of music is carried out mainly by brass instructment in the suite no.2 (actually this was a transplantation. The brass heavy part is from the "Interlude" after "Juliet alone". So you might say "romeo and juliet before departing" (suite) = "The last farewell" (ballet) + "Interlude" (ballet while it was thick strings and wood winds in the ballet. The difference is obvious. The brass version is so more powerful (in this recording yes, you won't get the same power from Salonen) and overwhelming that it would distract the audience from the visual presentation.

2. The suites here were organized chronically and fitted well into one hour. Not too long for most of the people. The ballet is more or less two hours so it is a serious challenge for the orchestra and the audience. The pieces were kind of in perfect order, like you just got a GPS and understand anytime where you were in the story. And more than that, perhaps intentionally, you will get a soft piece between some heavy brass showpieces so you will not have to worry about getting a pair of tired ears.

Enjoy!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid playing, but why not the whole ballet? 15 Jan. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a somewhat difficult one. Instead of focusing on the famous suites - or play the whole ballet for that matter - Abbado (or DG) has chosen to record an apparently rather arbitrary selection containing several lesser known numbers as well as leaving out some more famous ones. Of course, Abbado has given us distinguished recordings of Prokofiev before, and his understanding of the idiom or the work is never in doubt. Neither can his attention to detail and his ability to bring out the colors of the work be faulted. The playing of the BPO is - as expected - certainly admirable as well. Indeed, this is top-notch playing, full of atmosphere and imagination and almost always contributing the perfect amount of elegance, swagger, menace and character required. Still, it is somewhat hard to see the point of this release - why didn't they record the whole ballet? While Previn's is certainly a fine account, the performances here suggest that Abbado and the BPO would be very much able to challenge it. And if you merely want a selection, no one gets even close to Ancerl (although he certainly leaves out a lot of good music). To sum up, then, while this is a very recommendable release, I would turn elsewhere first - and the playing isn't to blame for that.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abbado's best Prokofiev in great sound 24 Sept. 2005
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am usually not a particular fan of Abbado in Prokofiev, finding him unsympathetic in the piano concertos with Kissin and a bit tame in Alexander Nevsky. But this relatively generous (68 min.) collection of the best excerpts from Romeo and Juliet is stunning. The viruosity of the Berlin Phil. is astonishing, even for them, and the sound is detailed and altogehter spectcular in its impact. This CD goes right to the head of the list, along with Salonen (also recorded with the Berliners), Gergiev, and Dorati.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best version available 14 Oct. 1999
By Emile Myburgh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic's version of Prokofiev's great work outshines any other available version. The sound is clear and the musicality brilliant. The demonstrate that overplayed hits like the Montagues and the Capulets march can be played beautifully, as if one hears it for the first time.
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