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Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet / Riccardo Muti, Chicago SO

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This new CSO*Resound album features the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Riccardo Muti in performance from October, 2013 playing an extended suite drawn from Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliette ballet score. Produced by David Frost, winner of the 2013 Grammy¨ Award for Producer of the Year. A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest international orchestras. Its expansive catalog of more than 900 recordings has earned 62 Grammy¨ Awards - more than any other orchestra in the world. "Nimble string playing painted the lightness of spirit in 'Juliet as a Young Girl' and Mr. Muti drew out an apt, naive and affectionate warmth for the well-meaning 'Friar Laurence.'" - Chicago Classical Review " [The CSO] played here with a brilliance and panache that brought the dramatic narrative alive." - Chicago Tribune

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
I'm still glad to see it, because I am a lifelong CSO fan. The orchestra has had a couple of uneven decades since the end of the Solti Era, but I'm a lot like baseball fans who stay devoted to the team they grew up with, no matter where they end up living later in life. I grew up listening to the CSO on the radio every Sunday afternoon and going to their summer concerts at Ravinia. They'll always be my home team - even if the Minnesota Orchestra is my favorite these days.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-).



Reviews

Gorgeous and evocative music making from Mr. Muti and the Chicago Symphony
This is marvelous music making, and it grabs the listener right from the first measure. And as soon as the full orchestra makes itself felt, it is clear that it is time to sit up and pay attention because something powerful and wonderful is about to happen. And then shortly thereafter comes the strident bass notes indicating the feud between the Montagues and Capulets – and the horns add a sense of noble righteousness to the conflict. This is powerful stuff, and sets the bar high for what is to come.

The second movement is playful and light, describing the innocence and youth of Juliet, reminding the listener how life was when things were fresh and innocent.. Kudos to the cellos for bringing additional depth to the music near the end of the movement. Yes, of course this is part of the score, but the musicians under Mr. Muti add something special here that is not commonly heard when this is performed live. Difficult to explain, but true nonetheless.

The minuet music in the 4th movement is stately and proper, with an undercurrent of tension in places offset by beautiful trumpet melodies suggesting the mixed feelings of the participants during the occasion. And the “Death of Tybalt” music in the 7th movement is frenetic, action packed, and crisp, each drum stroke driving home what has just occurred and the importance of it. The orchestral balance herein is just fantastic, with the horns and percussion providing just the right amount of “oomph” to accompany the strings while still providing the appropriate aural texture necessary to be true to the story being told.

The “Friar Lawrence” music in the 8th movement is just drop-dead gorgeous, with just the right amount of vibrato and love and balance from the strings. It is astonishing how well this is performed, and how touching the listening experience is. The lucky buggers that got to hear this in person are to be envied indeed! They are also to be envied for the emotional experience present in the 10th movement where Romeo is present at Juliet’s tomb. The French horns are glorious, and the cello and bass sections provide an undercurrent of depth and feeling that is just gripping.

The liner notes are brief but informative, and mention that the lament in the 10th movement was performed at Prokofiev’s funeral on a tape recorder because all of Moscow’s musicians had been tapped for the funeral of Joseph Stalin, who died on the same day as Prokofiev – sad, but true. The biographical material on Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony is well written and worth reading. But the music, as is so common with the work of Riccardo Muti, is what is the most important thing here. He demands the best of his performers, and the results are palpable and tangeable. This is a five star recording, and I highly recommend it.

Submitted on 12/10/14 by KlingonOpera 
"The Dead Cannot Dance Lying Down"
The ballet Romeo and Juliet has always been one of Prokofiev’s most enduring compositions and for good reason. It embodies all of the qualities one associates with this composer’s best work: soaring lyricism, rhythmic vitality, unexpected harmonic turns and a distinctive facility with imaginative orchestral color. There are many excellent recordings currently available including an earlier effort with Muti leading the Philadelphia Orchestra in selections culled from both Suites 1 and 2 as is the case in this new recording. The CSO has had a very special relationship with the music of Prokofiev from the beginning, a relationship the excellent liner notes thoroughly recount. Still do we need yet another version? When it’s of this caliber the answer is affirmative. Muti looks far beyond the printed notes to deliver a reading that is instinctually dramatic and nuanced. The CSO plays to the hilt with their customary razor sharp ensemble and a burnished tone anchored by a lush, palpable bass. Producer Thomas Frost, a well known name to listeners, should be applauded for the natural, visceral sound picture he extracted from a series of live concerts performed in October of 2013.
Submitted on 12/26/14 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2 :: Montagues and Capulets
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Ensemble: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2 :: Juliet the young girl
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1 :: Madrigal
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1 :: Minuet
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1 :: Masks
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1 :: Romeo and Juliet
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 1 :: Death of Tybalt
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2 :: Friar Laurence
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2 :: Romeo and Juliet before parting
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Romeo and Juliet, Suite no 2 :: Romeo at Juliet's tomb
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (2013-10-03&2013-10-05&2013-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1936
  • Studio/Live: Live