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Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet; Mussorgsky / Skrowaczewski, Doráti


Release Date: 09/12/1990 
Label:  Mercury Living Presence   Catalog #: 432004   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievModest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Stanislaw SkrowaczewskiAntal Doráti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Skrowaczewski's version of the Romeo and Juliet ballet suites is one of the very best things he has recorded - electrifying in its precision and delicacy.

Skrowaczewski's version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet suites is one of the very best things he has recorded. The LP made an extremely strong impression when it first appeared here in 1965, although the recording was actually made in 1962, after Dorati had brought the Minneapolis orchestra to a high peak of achievement. The playing is often electrifying in its precision and delicacy—witness the very opening filigree on the high violins in the ''Folk Dance'' of Suite No. 1 or the delectably precise articulation of the portrayal of Mercutio which follows.
Read more Skrowaczewski's subtlety of rubato, both in the latter (track 2) and the wonderfully delicate ''Madrigal'' which follows (when Romeo first approaches Juliet), is equally memorable for the wistful character of the orchestral playing.

The ''Balcony scene'' with its gently soaring string line is ravishingly done, and then in the ''Death of Tybalt'' there is a frenzied burst of sheer bravura from the violins, with exhilaratingly sharp articulation that makes the nape of the neck tingle. Prokofiev did not strictly follow the narrative line in the order of his selections and so ''Juliet as a young girl'' comes in Suite No. 2. It again brings playing which combines a gossamer touch with unpretentious virtuosity of the highest order, while at the closing climax of ''Romeo at Juliet's grave'' the music's pungent agony and sense of apotheosis is powerfully expressed (the bite of the violin line well matched by the turbulent horns and mordant brass).

The acoustics of Edison High School in Minneapolis and the refined clarity of the recording seem ideal for Prokofiev's scoring: the effect is never too voluptuous, and the bigger climaxes are projected with great dramatic force. There are other fine modern selections from what, in my view, is Prokofiev's greatest score and, perhaps, the greatest of all ballets, but none which captures its unique atmosphere and character more tellingly. There are excellent notes relating the music to the action, and which appealingly quote from the Shakespearean text to set the mood of the major excerpts.

Dorati's (1960) A night on the Bare Mountain (rather more sumptuously recorded, in Watford Town Hall) makes a good filler. It is a dramatic performance, not always conventional in pacing, with a particularly poignant closing section—again, Mercury engineering at its most impressive, with the resonant sonorities never clouding the detail.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone [3/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1. Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, Op. 64a by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 04/23/1962 
Venue:  Edison High School, Minneapolis 
Length: 26 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2. Romeo and Juliet Suite no 2, Op. 64b by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 04/23/1962 
Venue:  Edison High School, Minneapolis 
Length: 30 Minutes 18 Secs. 
3. Night on the Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Antal Doráti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/08/1960 
Venue:  Wembley Town Hall, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Orchestrated: Rimsky-Korsakov (1886) 

Featured Sound Samples

Romeo and Juliet: Suite no 1 (Prokofiev): 6. Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet: Suite no 2 (Prokofiev): 1. The Montagues and the Capulets

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