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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet Suite 2; Ravel: Bolero, Chansons


Release Date: 01/30/2009 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 420778   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievMaurice Ravel
Performer:  Madelaine GreyMaurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sergei ProkofievMaurice Ravel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic OrchestraLamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

With the death of Toscanini and the evaporation of his intimidating presence, Ravel’s Bolero can now be performed as the composer intended, that is, without notable tempo acceleration, and here is the composer’s musical statement on the subject. The recording is in muffled, but quite listenable, tastefully restored 1937 monophonic sound. It is entirely convincing and can serve as a model for conducting students and musicologists. Fortunately we now have many fine newer recordings of this work which would bring a smile to the face of the composer and a frown to the face of Toscanini, and we are the better for it. Fifty years ago the issue of this disk would have caused a stir. Perhaps it was re-issued fifty years ago in barely penetrable, Read more barely tolerable sonic guise, unable to convince in that form.

Madeline Grey (1887-1950) was an American singer from California famous for her Broadway successes. Madeleine Grey (1896-1976) (née Madeleine Nathalie Grumberg) was born in Villaines-la-Juhel, Mayenne, France, and gave her début concert with the Orchestre Pasdeloup in Paris in 1919, travelled widely including the U.S., and was well known for her performances of Ravel songs. Based on information in Wikipedia, I believe this is the Ms Grey who sings on this recording, although Wikipedia gives the date as 1932, not 1928. The Chansons Madécasses are beautifully sung in a profoundly committed, and listenably recorded performance directed by the composer. Although Jesseye Norman is generally the best at anything she decides to do, particularly a very dramatic song like Madécasses #2, these historic performances still hold their own in comparison to the very high standard set by Norman’s EMI recordings.

The Prokofiev work is very familiar from many later recordings. This performance, probably recorded in full range on an acetate disk, since played many times, is exceptional and the sound is surprisingly good for the time and place, but features grating high frequencies and screechy strings. While the composer gives us a vivid portrayal of his musical vision, it is a vision not unfamiliar to us from newer better-sounding recordings.

Paul Shoemaker, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Romeo and Juliet Suite no 2, Op. 64b by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Madelaine Grey (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sergei Prokofiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
2.
Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Maurice Ravel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 1932 
3.
Chansons madécasses by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Madelaine Grey (Soprano), Maurice Ravel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925-1926; France 
Date of Recording: 1928 
Language: French 

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