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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet (LSO / Gergiev) Hybrid SACD

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD, 11 Jan 2010
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Product details

  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (11 Jan. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: LSO Live
  • ASIN: B002VFCE9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,121 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product description

Product description

LSO 0682; LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - Inghilterra; Classica balletti

Review

For a work regarded as one of the great ballets some would say the greatest there are surprisingly few complete recordings of Prokofiev s Romeo and Juliet. As with any ballet, it loses much when the music is divorced from the dance. Nonetheless, Prokofiev s remarkable range of orchestral invention is on show as virtually nowhere else, as is his rich eclecticism. Yes, it is long, but there are very few longueurs, especially when performed like this, with the London Symphony Orchestra on top form and the frisson of live performance captured in SACD surround sound. Few can rival Valery Gergiev s pedigree in Prokofiev s music, and he is palpably aware of how this score works in the theatre. His pacing of events is masterly, with plenty of verve and passion, such as when Tybalt recognises Romeo, but this is never over-driven. Gergiev is adroit at capturing the fluctuating moods, not just in the confrontational or love scenes, but also in more elusive vignettes, such as the palpable excitement as the nurse scurries furtively to deliver Juliet s letter to Romeo. As a consequence, it is all the more powerful when this music returns, only to turn sour, as Juliet refuses Paris s marriage proposal. There are also some revelations. The Dance with Mandolins , which can have an element of mania, has a playful charm, with the clarinet enjoying weaving around the cheeky and colourful brass. Indeed there is much that is relaxed about this reading, yet, even amid the bombast of the Dance of the Knights , the music always flows. What really impresses, though, is the tenderness and poetry that are so often overlooked in Prokofiev, and not just in the love music. Gergiev frequently lets the strings and solo woodwind linger in a beguiling, natural rubato, whilst maintaining an architectural grasp of the tragic whole. The shaping of the Epilogue wrings the heart, with the LSO exhibiting exceptional control. Strongly recommended. Christopher Dingle --http://www.classical-music.com/review/prokofiev-romeo-and-juliet-4

Essential Work --BBC Music Magazine

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Noticeable awesome sound quality even played on non-SACD player. Lovely music.
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By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Valery Gergiev returned after twenty years to re-record Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet". His first attempt with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre remains one of the best around, a full-blooded, dramatically exciting reading but also one balanced by warmth and tenderness in the more romantic passages of the score. Now heading the London Symphony Orchestra we get a new full-length live recording, culled from two concerts at the London Barbican in November 2008.

Overall it is a very different experience and if we only had to consider the audio quality this new "Romeo and Juliet" might have been a clear first choice. LSO Live offers spectacular stereo and multi-channel mixes, somewhat dry but pleasantly expansive and with superb detail. The London Symphony Orchestra undoubtedly is the better ensemble of the two, but that doesn't necessarily mean it sounds better. The distinctive sound of the Russian orchestra (not to mention its familiarity with the score through performance practice) serves this music in ideal fashion, especially with gorgeously colored woodwinds, brass and percussion - and Gergiev knew how to make them sound. Yet, if this new LSO disc doesn't eventually replace the older one, it is mainly because of Gergiev's conducting.

Where Gergiev's Mariinsky recording had a natural flow, here he sounds often studied, even labored, and you start wondering if the music is ever going to take flight. As usual there are several moments of spotlighting, details in the orchestration one never noticed before, intriguing in themselves but as it turns out at the expense of the symphonic sweep and the characterization.
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Format: Audio CD
You'd really expect Valery Gergiev to be able to give a special account of Romeo and Juliet, but this is thrilling edge-of-the-seat stuff. The standard of musicianship in every single section of the LSO is exceptional. The fight at the end of Act 2 in particular is one of the most exciting and things I have ever heard - it really makes me wish I could play the trumpet. Typically excellent sound from producer James Mallinson.
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Format: Audio CD
A real opportunity to hear the LSO in full voice under Gergiev - I'd seen the Youtube footage with LSO excerpts before I bought the recording and while you lose the images of Gergiev and the LSO players throwing themselves into the performance, the finished recording captures the energy you can see on screen.

I don't know much about the various versions of the ballet - I'd played a few movements here and there and there seem to be at least three suites from the full ballet. The selection here takes in all the well known favourites and throws in some little known movements to present a fuller version of the story which feels well paced to me.

The exuberant LSO sound is there for the big set pieces - Montagues and Capulets, Death of Tybalt - but the lesser known and more refelctive movements receive real care with some really special solo playing across the orchestra.

A great recording from a group of musicians who clearly enjoy what they do!
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Format: Audio CD
This ticks all the boxes of an excellent recording. The sound is fabulous, and the variety in timbre is exquisite. The dynamic spectrum is broad and I find the articulation delightful in its accuracy and attention to detail. Romeo & Juliet in particular is a great title for someone looking for an introduction to classical ballet music. It is instantly appealing and memorable and also of the highest standard played by what must be the greatest orchestra in the world, the LSO, led by the greatest and ever charismatic conductor, Valery Gergiev. This recording welcomes you into Prokofiev's rich, vibrant and unique sound world. From start to finish this is a winning production.
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