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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet, excerpts Arr. for Viola And Piano / Jones, Golani, violas; Hampton, piano

Audio Samples

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet
>     Act 1. Introduction
>     Act 1. Scene 1
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 1. Scene 2
>     Act 2. Scene 1
>     Act 2. Scene 1
>     Act 2. Scene 2
>     Act 2. Scene 3
>     Act 2. Scene 3
>     Act 3. Scene 3
>     Act 3. Scene 3
>     Act 4. Epilogue

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

One of Prokofiev's best loved works today, Romeo and Juliet was initially declared 'impossible to dance to'. The composer resorted to making Symphonic Suites of the work, subsequently arranged for viola and piano, with the composer's full approval, by renowned Soviet performer and founder of the Beethoven String Quartet Vadim Vasilyevich Borisovsky. The adaptation loses little from Prokofiev's timeless score through expert utilization of the viola's full technical possibilities, a quality enhanced by the 'sensuous and dramatic' (The Strad) artistry of outstanding viola player Matthew Jones.

MusicWeb International
The recorded sound is rich and clear. Overall, this is a wonderful performance of a wonderful arrangement of wonderful music. If you love Prokofiev's ballet, then I'm sure you will enjoy this presentation. Due to the skill of the arranger and the performers, it is unexpectedly rich, faithful and touching: more than one could guess from the modest forces.

Classical Net
All the arrangements are splendidly realized, with the exception of Dance with the Mandolins... Violist Matthew Jones conveys a fine sense for both Prokofiev's lyrical music and his more acerbic side.

Allmusic.com
The arrangements are exceptionally well done and for most of this music, the combination of viola and piano sounds like a natural fit, thanks to the versatility of the viola's tonal variety; it can soar like a violin and project the mellow warmth of a cello. The album is so successful both because of the arrangers' skill and Jones' gift in exploiting the instrument's versatility. Hampton, too, plays with plenty of color and drama, and he and Jones create rounded, musically satisfying highlights of music from the ballet. It's a set of pieces that makes a delicious addition to the violists' recital repertoire. Jones' tone is light but rich; he is especially adept at finding the musical and dramatic core of each movement, from the playfulness of "Masks" to the subdued, lyrical melancholy of "Romeo at Friar Lawrence's home" to the delicate sweetness of "Morning Serenade" to the searing emotionality of the "Epilogue." Legendary Israeli/Canadian violist Rivka Golani... joins Jones and Hampton in several movements arranged for two violas and piano. Naxos' sound is warm, natural, and present. This album should appeal to fans of the viola and of Prokofiev's ballet.

MusicWeb International, 18th April 2013
Goodness, this is playing of rare distinction, the soloists responding to each other in a most engaging and spontaneous way. Mercutio struts to music of tremendous virility - well caught here - yet it's all so economically done, ...Rarely have I been so spellbound by two instrumentalists working in such close and productive harmony...Subtle arrangements, masterful musicianship and a top-flight recording; a must for all Prokofiev fans.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009); Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (04/30/2009).



Reviews

Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite Chamber-Music Version
Prokofiev's now-famous ballet "Romeo and Juliet" had a difficult start in life. The Kirov Theatre commissioned Prokofiev to compose a ballet, but political changes resulted in cancellation of the planned production of "Romeo and Juliet." Prokofiev signed a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet and completed the score in mid-1935. The music was judged impossible to dance to, and a happy ending was suggested on the argument that the living can dance, the dead cannot. Still the ballet remained unstaged until a 1938 performance in Brno; meanwhile, Prokofiev's success with two Symphonic Suites and a piano version of the ballet attracted the attention of both the Bolshoi and the Kirov companies, who finally staged the ballet in 1940 and 1946, respectively.
With Prokofiev's approval, the gifted Moscow-born violist Vadim Borisovsky transcribed an eight-movement suite of this ballet for viola and piano. Later, he transcribed a further five excerpts, two of which required a second viola. Considering the complexity and orchestral lushness of Prokofiev's original score, Borisovsky created a remarkable transcription. Prokofiev's use of leitmotifs in the original ballet is cleverly portrayed by imaginative use of the viola's full register, harmonics, and bowing techniques.
The performances are top-notch and the recorded sound is splendid. Those who like the idea of excerpts from this ballet performed as intimate chamber-music will surely enjoy this CD.
Ted Wilks
Submitted on 09/25/11 by Ted Wilks 
The Viola in My Life
Any addition to the paltry viola section of my record collection is a welcome one and this new release of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet in an arrangement for viola and piano by the renowned Soviet violist, pedagogue, and founder of the Beethoven Quartet, Vadim Borisovsky, is particularly welcome. Borisovsky’s arrangement is animated by Jones and Hampton’s subtle performance (with Rivka Golani ably joining in on two tracks), which is displayed especially in the pizzicato and harmonic passages on “The Street Awakens,” “Mercutio,” and “Morning Serenade.” The angular jauntiness of “The Dance of the Knights” is also striking. Jones and Hampton offer a skilled performance of this arrangement, sure to please violists and those looking for a new take on this warhorse.
Submitted on 09/27/11 by Due Fuss 
Absolut Prokofiev
Non-musicans often think of arrangements as being analogous to translations, and we're inclined to worry about what's "lost" in the process. But the adaptive re-use of music might be done for all sorts of practical or artistic reasons, and there is often something gained as well. In the case of Vadim Borisovsky's arrangements for viola & piano of Prokofiev's amazing Romeo & Juliet ballet, I think a better analogue is "distillation". If these clever arrangements don't exactly bring out the "essence" of the score, which is one of the greatest and most colourful orchestral works of the 20th century, they distill some of the many moods of Shakespeare's original work, as they were so imaginatively re-imagined by Prokofiev.

This new Naxos disc of Borisovsky's arrangements includes three additional movements, transcribed by David Grunes and Matthew Jones, and all the pieces have been reordered to follow the original ballet score. The choice of viola and piano works well for the more neo-classical scenes, which can sound like movements from an angular trio-sonata. The more romantic scenes take advantage of the full expressive range of the viola (and in a couple of cases, two violas) and the complete dramatic arsenal of the pianist. The Dance of the Knights is amazing: the viola provides so many different sounds through different bowing techniques and the full range of the viola, ncluding harmonics. This is a rich re-orchestration!

Violists Matthew Jones and Rivka Golani and pianist Michael Hampton provide passion and expertise in equal parts. They really convinced me of the value of this music!
Submitted on 02/23/12 by Dean Frey 
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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Introduction
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 1
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 1. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 2. Scene 1
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 2. Scene 1
  • Performers: Rivka Golani (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 2. Scene 2
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 2. Scene 3
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 2. Scene 3
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 3. Scene 3
  • Performers: Rivka Golani (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 3. Scene 3
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Suite from Romeo and Juliet :: Act 4. Epilogue
  • Performers: Matthew Jones (Viola); Michael Hampton (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Hall, Monmouth, Wales (02/27/2009-02/28/2009)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1935-1936