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Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kijé / Abbado

Release Date: 01/23/1996 
Label:  Dg The Originals Catalog #: 447419   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Elena ObraztsovaAdolph Herseth
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony ChorusChicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Forget the movie, Abbado’s Alexander Nevsky is more vivid than anything you’ll see on the screen. With gutsy singing from the London Symphony Chorus, a fine alto solo from Obratsova in “The Field of the Dead,” and terrifying sonorities in The Crusaders in Pskov, this really is the best version available. Abbado pulls out all the stops for the thrilling Battle on the Ice–in the movie the music for this sequence isn’t continuous, and in Temirkanov’s version of the complete file score they resort to battle noises to fill in the gaps just when the action reaches a peak of frenzy. Prokofiev stitches the various bits together brilliantly in the cantata, and the moment where the two sides collide finds
Read more Abbado, for once, going complete crazy and letting all hell break loose from the assembled forces. It’s pulverizing.

The couplings are equally enjoyable. Lieutenant Kijé is colorful and just about perfectly played. No one invests the music with as much character as Ormandy on Sony, but there’s nothing to complain about here. The Scythian Suite is, hands down, the finest version available–those Chicago brass in The Enemy God (second movement) have to be heard to be believed (sound clip). The third movement (Night) has a wonderful, velvety atmosphere, while the final crescendo will blow your speakers to bits and scare the hell out of your neighbors. This is surely one of Abbado’s greatest (and loudest) records. Incidentally, on the back of the tray card “Lieutenant” is spelled “Leutnant.” Oy vey.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938/1939; USSR 
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, London 
Length: 38 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Scythian Suite, Op. 20 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; USSR 
Date of Recording: 02/1977 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 20 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Adolph Herseth (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 02/1977 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 19 Minutes 35 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 1. Russia under the Mongolian Yoke
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 2. Song about Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 3. The Crusaders in Pskov
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 4. Arise, Ye Russian People
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 5. The Battle on Ice
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 6. Field of the Dead
Alexander Nevsky, Op.78: 7. Alexander's entry into Pskov
Scythian Suite, Op.20 - "Ala and Lolly": 1. The Adoration of Veless and Ala
Scythian Suite, Op.20 - "Ala and Lolly": 2. The Enemy God and the Dance of the Spirits of Darkness
Scythian Suite, Op.20 - "Ala and Lolly": 3. Night
Scythian Suite, Op.20 - "Ala and Lolly": 4. The Glorious Departure of Lolly and the Sun's Procession
Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op.60: 1. Naissance de Kijé
Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op.60: 2. Romance
Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op.60: 3. Noces de Kijé
Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op.60: 4. Troïka
Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op.60: 5. Enterrement de Kijé

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