WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Prokofiev: Ballets, Orchestral Works, Film Music / Previn, Muti

Prokofiev / Previn / Muti
Release Date: 08/28/2012 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 05575   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Anna ReynoldsBoris MorgunovIrina ArkhipovaAnatoly Mokrenko
Conductor:  André PrevinRiccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony ChorusAmbrosian Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Try to tear yourself away from Act 1, Scene 1 of this classic recording, the most passionate of all full-length ballet scores. Just try it. In a word, André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra are riveting. The intensity continues throughout this budget-priced two-CD set. Previn, his career as a film composer/conductor less than a decade behind him when this music was recorded in 1973, finds the maximum dramatic value of just about all of the ballet's 50-odd numbers. With the LSO in fine form and responding well to a conductor it had been working with for several years, this is a very welcome return to the active catalogue and can be recommended without hesitation.

– Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com, reviewing Romeo and
Read more Juliet


...the woodwind solos, again and again, have just an extra degree or two of character and distinction of phrasing; the violins show barely a trace of strain in those perilously exposed highlying phrases, the cellos have an absolutely secure expressive warmth, even at the extremes of their register: they in particular make the pas-de-deux, No. 36, a genuinely romantic, Tchaikovskyan adagio. ...Previn distils as much grace as swagger... [Previn] is in his element in this score, and he and the LSO revel in its grace and glitter.

– Gramophone [12/1983], reviewing the original LP release of Cinderella


[This recording] has already stood the test of time... Whatever you feel about the cantata arranged from Prokofiev’s music for Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible by Alexander Stasevich in 1961, it did at least give some glorious music a concert life. I’m not entirely convinced by the narration, especially in this rather histrionic rendition by Boris Morgunov, but that could be coloured by not having a clue what he’s on about. You can always skip tracks and revel in the superb playing of the Philharmonia, who really did play for their lives for Muti at this time. I still have a wonderful Tchaikovsky Manfred from this same period, and it’s never been bettered for playing or recording. If you want to hear what I mean, just sample track 17 ‘The Storming of Kazan’, with its echoes of the Sixth Symphony, or the riotous ‘Dance of the Oprichniki’ (tr.25) where orchestral virtuosity and choral discipline combine to brilliant effect.

Previn’s Alexander Nevsky is also as good as any in the catalogue, despite being over 35 years old. His choir is Arthur Oldham’s LSO chorus and very good they are: even the occasionally rough tenor tone seems to have a Slavonic authenticity, and Anna Reynolds is very poignant in her set piece ‘Field of the Dead’. The famous ‘Battle on the Ice’ displays the Previn/LSO special relationship at its best, the snarling brass and lustrous strings sounding as good as ever. This Nevsky does have strong competition, even in the budget sector - including Previn’s own Los Angeles remake - but I doubt any will be more impressive...

– Tony Haywood, MusicWeb International, reviewing Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible, previously reissued as EMI 81513 Read less

Works on This Recording

Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1936; Paris, France 
Cinderella, Op. 87 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940-1944; USSR 
Symphony no 1 in D major, Op. 25 "Classical" by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916-1917; Russia 
Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Anna Reynolds (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938/1939; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/1971 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 42 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Paris, France 
Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Boris Morgunov (Spoken Vocals), Irina Arkhipova (Mezzo Soprano), Anatoly Mokrenko (Baritone)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1945; USSR 
Date of Recording: 1977 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 74 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Russian 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Good Collection of Prokofiev's Music March 29, 2013 By E. Pederson (Fairfax, VA) See All My Reviews "This boxed set includes Prokofiev's ballets and movie music along with a few other incidental works and is a good buy for anyone wishing to get accomplished performances of those compositions. The entire scores for "Romeo & Juliet" and "Cinderella" are included, a great deal more music than in the more frequently recorded suites from those ballets. Better performances of each of the works are undoubtedly available on recordings, but this collection provides good interpretations of each." Report Abuse
 EMI's IVAN: An Insult to All Concerned January 12, 2013 By James Komar (Saskatoon, SK) See All My Reviews "Muti brings this music to life, and it is thrilling. But what does i t mean? Without a libretto or at least sung texts, it is impossible to follow the story and fully appreciate the contributions of the composer, conductor, and performers to the production. When will EMI learn that this sort of penny-wise, pound-foolish philosophy of publishing its recordings as cheaply as possible (without sung texts or librettos) is no longer acceptable in the recording industry. I plan to hunt for a DVD or CD production of Ivan with subtitles or a libretto; and I would not even consider searching to see if EMI has anything to offer. The whole EMI approach to vocal music is an insult to everyone concerned: the composer, the conductor, the performers, the listener, and lastly EMI itself. I advise that you not buy this recording unless your Russian is fluent or you are totally familiar with the plot of Ivan." Report Abuse
 Muti's visceral Prokofiev in 1978..... October 23, 2012 By Robert M B. (NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom) See All My Reviews "On October 1st 1978 in the Royal Festival Hall Riccardo Muti and the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus again performed the Prokofiev/Stasevich 'Ivan the Terrible' that they had given the season before, and which they were repeating by popular demand. (The performance in this boxed set was made in the Kingsway Hall after the earlier RFH performance.) Living in Nottingham, I made the 250-mile round trip to the RFH and was rewarded by one of the most viscerally exciting evenings I can remember in over 50 years of concert-going. Not great music, perhaps, but certainly some ear-tingling episodes, and drama by the bucketful; the narration by the old Russian actor, Boris Morgunov, is a thing of period wonder - and if his final declamation and the thrilling peroration, with Russian bells crowning the torrent of sound, does not lift you out of your armchair, then there is no hope for you! If you don't know the piece, then buy this set with confidence - and play it LOUD! (Incidentally, should the January 2012 LPO/Jurowski performance at the RFH of the version by Levon Atovmyan make it onto the LPO's own label, tread with care; if you expect the same level of sheer excitement that Muti gives us, you will be sorely disappointed.)" Report Abuse
Review This Title