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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rostropovich vs Kitajenko vs Rozhdestvensky, 18 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Prokofiev: Symphonies 1-7 (Mstislav Rostropovich) (Audio CD)
Three Russian conductors (it would be unkind to say 'well... two-and-a-half') in three Prokofiev cycles, and the best by some distance is by the 'half', Rostropovich. He can't keep a tempo (sometimes he does, in the 2nd Symphony for example). He can't maintain a perfect ensemble (sometimes he does, in the Gavotte of the 1st Symphony). He's sometimes in, fu, ri, atingly slooow (introduction to the 1930 4th Symphony). His orchestra is not the world's greatest. BUT. But there is, always, a PORTENT in what he does. He loves and understands this music, the players love him, and he and they, helped by a warm, translucent recording (though the reverb and balance can change between Symphonies and there are a couple of horrendously obvious edits) give us the greatness of this music as neither of the two 'professional' conductors do. Rozhdestvensky is brash and slapdash (he was a notoriously bored rehearser) and Kitajenko, after Rostropovich, slick and gutless - though good, to be fair, in the more lyrical music. Rozhdestvensky does not include the original 1930 4th Symphony, only the 1947 revision. The other two include both.

I've not heard Ozawa, Weller or Gergiev. Jarvi is not to my taste, though many prefer him. Individual Symphonies exist in wonderful recordings: Mravinsky in the 6th, Alsop in the 4th, Leinsdorf or Alsop in the 5th. But no-one, no-one wanted, NEEDED us to hear these pieces as Rostropovich did.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2017, 04:54:09 BST
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2017, 04:55:01 BST
Neil Ford says:
I agree with your judgements. I wouldn't necessarily call Rostropovich a first choice in this music, but he imparts a unique grandness and power (as was his style) to these works that are still seen by some as slight.
Rozhdestvensky did do a great recording of the 6th, which is worth hearing. Weller is light and bland, so only succeeds (moderately) in 1 and 7. Gergiev is aggressive in his handling of the music, and unable to impart a sense of structure. Jarvi doesn't give these works the attention they need (he recorded a HUGE amount of repertoire), and the Chandos sounds is over-reverberant and too bright for comfortable listening. Of Kuchar's old Naxos set, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are worth hearing (he's more successful in the early symphonies than anyone else I know). Temirkanov did a fine recording of 5 for RCA (with 1 and Lt. Kije).
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