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Heritage Prokofiev: Symphony No 5; Bartok / George Szell


Release Date: 06/29/1999 
Label:  Sony Classical Masterworks Catalog #: 63124   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievBéla Bartók
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Critics have unfairly accused George Szell of not embracing 20th century music during his tenure with the Cleveland Orchestra. This is nonsense; Szell frequently commissioned works by young composers and championed music by Janacek, Hindemith, Bartók and Prokofiev. This recording, an entry in the Masterworks Heritage series, features Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and Prokofiev's Symphony no. 5.
Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation and premiered in 1944. Szell leads a dazzling performance of this colorful work. The orchestra's soloists shine in the tricky second movement, while the mysterious elegy that comprises the third movement is brilliantly realized.
Read more Szell also brings true Hungarian spirit to the fiery finale, with the Cleveland Orchestra's brass playing grandiosely.
Prokofiev's Symphony was written towards the end of World War II and is considered by many to be one of his finest works. The work is filled with soaring melodies, a touch of melancholy, and an epic finale. Szell and the orchestra deliver a virtuoso performance, brilliantly communicating the piece's shifting moods and grand nature. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, Op. 100 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USSR 
Date of Recording: 10/1959 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 38 Minutes 47 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Orchestra, Sz 116 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1965 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 34 Minutes 40 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Szell's Five Star Prokofiev Fifth May 20, 2017 By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "I'm a big fan of Szell and this offering might make you one too. Of the Prokofiev Fifths in my collection this performance is one of the best. The CD booklet explains how Szell added his own touch to a few spots to ''juice-up'' the work. The Bartok Concerto is good but Szell has made a substantial cut in the finale. The Fifth, dating from 1959, is not one of the better Columbia recordings: the top end is too sharp and the bottom is attenuated. The mid-range is fine. The Bartok is the better recording. Most listeners will probably find the overall sound of both works to be fully acceptable. The CD booklet contains comments from the tympanist and lead trumpeter from the CSO which provide insight into what made Szell such an outstanding conductor. Too bad that this has gone out of production. A disc worth having, possibly to be found in some retailer's dusty CD bin" Report Abuse
 DON'T EVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU... January 7, 2015 By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews "...that conductor George Szell did not have a sense of humor! He certainly did, and it comes through brilliantly in this performance of the Prokofiev 5th. Case in point: the second movement of the symphony, full of hi-jinks and not a little sarcasm, and then the finale which is loaded with more heehaws than one can count---he well understood where the composer was coming from. And not a trace of adagio-con-schleppo to be found. I have this heritage recording from quite some time ago, and I continue to enjoy and treasure it. Prokofiev knew whereof he spoke when he described this work as a tribute to the human spirit (and high spirits as well). A couple more comments regarding the last movement: not only the preponderance of heehaws, but I also detected more than a few additional barnyard sounds---the honking of geese, a couple of rhinos, and plenty of screech-owls right near the end! I can well imagine that someone named Stalin had a monstrous cow. I love this symphony, and I'm very happy that I got hold of the CD before it became unavailable." Report Abuse
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