Author Topic: Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO  (Read 4861 times)

jsaliga

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Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO
« on: March 26, 2011, 06:49:47 AM »


I'm definitely a fan of Prokofiev, though I wouldn't consider myself an ardent follower or especially well-versed on the definitive recordings of his works.  Most of my Prokofiev music is on vinyl, though I do not have Romeo & Juliet on vinyl (a shortcoming in my library that I will soon rectify).  The only recording of one of my favorite ballets that I had was a Decca CD of Lorin Maazel leading the Cleveland Orchestra.  I very much enjoy Maazel's reading, but was interested in adding a few other recordings to my library.

I bought this recording of Valery Gergeiv conducting the London Symphony Orchestra last week and gave it a listen a few nights ago.  I like a lot of what Gergeiv has been doing.  His schedule is extrememly crowded with a lot going on, and my only real concern is whether he is giving himself enough time to really immerse himself in his projects.  My first exposure to him was with his Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky recordings for Philips.  I was saddened to see that relationship fall through because the Shosty recordings weren't completed.  But Gergiev wasn't deterred, and continues that work on the Mariinsky label that he formed in 2009 with the Mariinsky Orchestra.  I have yet to sample these Shosty recordings, and will do so soon, but I have listened to the Gergeiv/Mariinsky recording of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini featuring Denis Matsuev and really enoyed it.

Getting back to this LSO recording, I have to say that this is the first Gergeiv recording that I have bought that really disappointed me.  A great deal of my dissatisfaction stems from what I would call a lack of passion and fire in the performance.  It really sounded like Gergeiv was simply putting the orchestra through its paces because there was someplace else he needed to be.  Perhaps it was merely an off night.  But this reading doesn't hold a candle to the Maazel recording.  Moreover, the thing that equally sinks this recording is the poor sonics.  After the first listen I came away from the experience thinking the strings sounded very flat, lifeless even, and the bottom end was boomy with no real definition.  A bass drum should not simply sound like a thud, and that is exactly what it sounds like here.  I don't know if it was the microphones or mic placement, but the sonics were just as disappointing as the performance.

My suggestion is that if you are looking for a great reading of Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet then look elsewhere.  This one doesn't measure up.

--Jerome
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 06:51:47 AM by jsaliga »

Offline richidoo

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Re: Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 08:44:15 AM »
I have Gergiev's Prokofiev Symphony cycle. I felt that it didn't live up to all the over-hyped reviews. It's OK, but doesn't compare in precision and power to Atlanta Symphony's 1 & 5 on Telarc is the best I've heard yet. One thing particularly annoying on the Gergiev set is the placement of a microphone above the conductor which picks up all his noises. I was hoping Kreitzberg would do some Prokofiev symphonies on Pentatone like he did the Dvoraks and Shostakovichs, but too late now.

The best Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet I have heard (and my best audiophile symphonic recording) is San Francisco Symphony Michael Tilson Thomas.


jsaliga

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Re: Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 10:19:33 AM »
Thanks Rich.  I'll be sure to take a look at that performance by the San Francisco Symphony.  I ordered their Mahler 2nd on SACD after reading the thread about it.  I'm looking forward to that one as well.

--Jerome

Offline richidoo

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Re: Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 01:41:34 PM »
I'd like to hear the SF Mahlers too. I keep posting when it's on sale hoping someone near me will buy the whole set.  aa

Offline etcarroll

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Re: Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet - Gergiev/LSO
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 02:34:47 PM »
I saw the Philly Symphony perform Prokofiev Symphony 6, I'd like to find a good recording of it, what do folks like?
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