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CD Review

Serge Prokofieff

Enfant Terrible

Including excerpts from:

  • Alexander Nevsky Op. 78
  • Lieutenant Kijé Op. 60
  • Love for Three Oranges Op. 33a
  • Dreams Op. 6
  • Visions Fugitives Op. 22
  • The Stone Flower Op. 118
Jard van Nes, mezzo-soprano
Montréal Symphony Orchestra/Charles Dutoit
Concertegebouw Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Silvio Varviso
Decca 473443-2 2CDs 152m ADD/DDD
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This timely compendium arrives in time for Prokofieff's 50th anniversary and it includes a variety of hit-and-miss recordings, always in stunning sound, from the Decca stable.

Dutoit's recordings of 'Nevsky', 'Kije' and 'Love for Three Oranges make up the whole of the first disc and they are probably the best on merit. Jard van Nes is a fine mezzo and the powerful music to Eisenstein's film is scathingly recreated by the excellent Montréal orchestra especially in the famous 'Battle on the Ice'.

The second CD is variable with a lush portrait of 'Dreams' by the Concertegebouw under Ashkenazy but I'm not too content with Marriner's orchestrations of the 'Visions Fugitives'. Varviso's full blooded 1965 recording of the 'Stone Flower' excerpts is mightily impressive and deserves a recommendation all round.

Recordings are always from the top drawer and I do believe that this set will be one of the best sellers this year as it is well stocked at 152 minutes and offers a vivid cross section of the composer's work in several areas.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech