Notes and Editorial Reviews
Ivan the Terrible – the second joint project of Sergei Eisenstein and Sergei Prokofiev – is, much like Alexander Newski, a historical epic, portraying the rise and fall of the autocratic ruler Ivan IV in the 16th century. Sergei Prokofiev’s musical portrayal is unique in film history, for the score conceives both parts of the film on an epic scale. Prokofiev’s rich melodic invention thrives on the expressive sound palette of his native Russia, mostly as they echo the spiritual works of the Russian-orthodox liturgy. These film scores were not published during Prokofiev’s lifetime. They were arranged as an oratorio for soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Levon Atovmyan, one of Prokofiev’s assistants, in 1961. This version received its concert
premiere in Moscow that same year. This, however, is the original, straight from the composer’s hands, receiving its world premiere recording.
The music is well worth the listener’s time: it is very inventive and highly atmospheric owing to the composer’s uncanny ability to depict the characters, moods and historic aspects of the story. As mentioned, the performances are quite fine and Strobel, who earlier gave us the world premiere recording of the complete film music from Alexander Nevsky, has a grasp on Prokofiev’s film music style that few other conductors do.
– MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116 by Sergei Prokofiev
Marina Prudenskaya (Mezzo Soprano),
Alexander Vinogradov (Bass)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Berlin Radio Choir
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1942-1945; USSR
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