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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet / Ashkenazy, Royal PO


Release Date: 05/13/2003 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 436078   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 21 Mins. 

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

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new Decca release shares with the recent Temirkanov/Prokofiev collection on RCA the dubious distinction of having been recorded on the 100th anniversary of Prokofiev's birth, only to be released 12 years later on the 50th anniversary of his death. (As if Prokofiev needs a "special occasion" for anybody to pay him any attention.) This is an important point, mainly because we have before us an excellent Romeo and Juliet, one that listeners could have been enjoying for more than a decade. Vladimir Ashkenazy brings to the score a profoundly Russian sensibility that makes his reading sound ever-fresh and at times quite enthralling. By giving emphasis to the orchestra's low end, he achieves the real "Prokofiev sound", Read more which underlines the dramatic impact of such numbers as the fearsome Dance of the Knights. On the other hand, his ear for rhythm and orchestral color enlivens the pulse in Folk Dance, Morning Dance, and similar selections.


Ashkenazy wears the music close to his heart, injecting it with much passionate feeling. Listen to how he phrases the Introduction's fetching melody with urgent yearning, a quality that will reappear time and again throughout the performance--particularly in the Balcony Scene (featuring some wonderfully hushed string playing) and most effectively in Juliet's Funeral, where the Royal Philharmonic brass sound wonderfully baleful. In this sense, Ashkenazy's reading is decidedly Old-World--listen to his Tchaikovsky-like treatment of the Act 1 interlude and the Arrival of the Guests--especially compared to Lorin Maazel, who leads Decca's other complete recording. Maazel's bright and brisk performance boasts stunningly virtuosic playing by the Cleveland Orchestra, which sounds more vital and incisive in passages such as Act 2's Duel, and the Death of Tybalt. However, this is no slight to the Royal Philharmonic members, who play handsomely for Ashkenazy, providing the same level of commitment and refinement they displayed in their many other recordings with this conductor. Decca's sound is warm, spacious, and detailed, with impressive dynamic range (by comparison, the Maazel is beginning to show its 30-plus years). This one's a winner. It's just a shame we had to wait so long. [6/24/2003]
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1936; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Walthamstow Hall, London, England 
Length: 141 Minutes 28 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Romeo and Juliet, Op.64: 1. Introduction
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 2. Romeo
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 3. The street wakens
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 4. Morning dance
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 5. The quarrel
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 6. The fight
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 7. The duke's command
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 8. Interlude
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 9. At the Capulets' (Preparations for the ball)
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 / Act 1: 10. The young Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 11. Arrival of the guests
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 12. Masks
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 / Act 1: 13. Dance of the knights
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 14. Juliet's variation
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 15. Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 16. Madrigal
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 17. Tybalt recognizes Romeo
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 18. Gavotte
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 19. Balcony scene
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 20. Romeo's variation
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 1: 21. Love dance
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 22. Folk dance
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 23. Romeo and Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 24. Dance of the five couples
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 25. Dance with mandolins
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 26. Nurse
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 27. The nurse and Romeo
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 28. Romeo at friar Laurence's
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 29. Juliet at friar Laurence's
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 30. Public merrymaking
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 31. Further public festivities
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 32. Meeting of Tybalt and Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 33. The duel
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 34. Death of Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 35. Romeo decides to avenge Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 2: 36. Finale
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 37. Introduction
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 38. Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 39. Romeo bids Juliet farewell
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 40. Nurse
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 41. Juliet refuses to marry Paris
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 42. Juliet alone
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 43. Interlude
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 44. At friar Laurence's cell
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 45. Interlude
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 46. Juliet's room
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 47. Juliet alone
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 48. Aubade
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 49. Dance of the girls with lilies
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 3: 50. At Juliet's bedside
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 4: 51. Juliet's funeral
Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 - Act 4: 52. Juliet's death

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