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Classics - Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Alexander Nevsky, etc / Neeme Järvi, Scottish NO, et al

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Scythian Suite, for orchestra, Op. 20
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Le pas d'acier (The Steel Step), suite for orchestra, Op. 41 bis
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Alexander Nevsky, cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 78
Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The colourful cinematic cantata 'Alexander Nevsky' takes centre stage here. The original recording with the then Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Neeme Jarvi received rave reviews on its release in January 1988. 'Gramophone' magazine wrote, "It's difficult to envisage anyone quite matching Jarvi's intimidatory SNO brass in this score's more savage pages a terrific display, excitingly engineered". The cantata is coupled with the powerful 'Scythian Suite' (derived from the composer's mythological ballet 'Ala et Lolly', written for Diaghilev) and the Suite from the ballet 'The Steel Dance'.

Gramophone Magazine
Järvi catches the icy bitterness of the Russian winter snows at the very opening and is pungently overwhelming in the "Battle of the Ice"... It's difficult to envisage anyone quite matching Järvi's intimidatory SNO brass in this score's more savage pages... a terrific display, excitingly engineered.

Hi-Fi News
Listening to this has been a little like running some Technicolor, super-Panavision, Dolby stereo remake of Eisenstein's 1938 black-and-white classic through one's head. Such is Järvi's graphic and wonderfully evocative sense of the visual and cinematic... and once again Järvi is handsomely served in his epic endeavours by some quite spectacular Chandos engineering

The Times
Time has proved Järvi's 1988 recordings of film score suites by Prokofiev uncontested, which explains their re-release. Time also reminds us what a stunning contralto the Scot Linda Finnie was. Here she soothes the Russian Army with a sad folk melody in the Alexander Nevsky Suite, excised from the score for Eisenstein's eponymous patriotic film. Strength, not age gave Finnie those voluminous low notes - too little was made of her career. Järvi, conducting the Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus, achieves a quivering sheen in the Battle on the Ice and a passionate noise from the singers as they undiplomatically name their enemy (the Swedes).



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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Scythian Suite, for orchestra, Op. 20
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (08/21/1987-08/23/1987)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1914-1915

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Le pas d'acier (The Steel Step), suite for orchestra, Op. 41 bis
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Glasgow City Hall (09/28/1988/09/29/1988)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Alexander Nevsky, cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 78
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (08/21/1987-08/23/1987)
  • Running Time: 39 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1938