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Prokofiev: On Guard for Peace, Queen of Spades Suite / Järvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, et al

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70
>Prokofiev, Sergey : On Guard of Peace, oratorio for narrator, mezzo-soprano, chorus, boys' chorus & orchestra, Op. 124
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Works:
Sergei Prokofiev
Symphonic Suite adapted from The Queen of Spades (Rediscovered music from an unrealised film score. Arranged and elaborated by Michael Berkeley)
On Guard for Peace, Op. 124 (An oratorio in ten movements, Original text by Samuil Marshak)

Performers:
Irina Tchistjakova (Mezzo-Soprano)
Niall Docherty (Boy Soprano)

Conductor:
Neeme Järvi

Ensemble:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus

BBC Music Magazine
... superb performances of lesser-known Prokofiev works. Neeme Järvi understands the drama of Prokofiev's music, as is evident in his celebrated cycle of the symphonies, and here he conducts by some margin the most convincing account of Prokofiev's final choral work, On Guard for Peace.

The Guardian
Both works get powerhouse performances from Neeme Järvi.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
On Guard for Peace is a product of the darkest days of Stalinist repression and hence complicit with what David Fanning termed 'mass ideological brainwashing'. Under a cloud post-1948, Vocal Prokofiev 868 his first wife interned and his income drastically cut, Prokofiev had no choice but to supply the sort of cantata the regime required, having gone out of his way to nail down an ideologically foolproof text. There are cute kids, emblematic doves and big tunes. Recurring references to the supervisory role of the Leader and Teacher are both explicit and chilling.

Neeme Järvi has a background in the old Soviet bloc and a long track record in conducting Prokofiev's music for Chandos. His approach is urgent and forthright. Bold sound makes his Scottish forces sound as if they too might hail from St Petersburg and the swimming-pool resonance swallows up the flaws. Soloist Irina Tchistjakova, a youngish mezzo of slightly alarming old-school vibrancy, also narrates.

The unexpected pairing is a Royal Ballet commission perpetrated by Michael Berkeley, chiefly from material Prokofiev had intended to underscore a projected Mikhail Romm film of The Queen of Spades. Berkeley's treatment seems diffuse, probably because the best bits had already been recycled by Prokofiev himself, notably in the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony.

Prokofiev fanciers will wonder why an actual ballet score such as On the Dnieper (similarly plotted) or a finished orchestral piece like the Russian Overture could not have been pressed into service instead.



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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70 :: 1. Introduction and Allegro
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70 :: 2. Adagio
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70 :: 3. Scherzo -
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70 :: 4. Finale -
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), film score, Op. 70 :: (leading into) Epilogue
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Prokofiev, Sergey : On Guard of Peace, oratorio for narrator, mezzo-soprano, chorus, boys' chorus & orchestra, Op. 124
  • Performer: Irina Tchistjakova (Voice)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland (11/10/2008-11/11/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1950