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  • Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes, Quintet / Hindemith: Octet
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Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes, Quintet / Hindemith: Octet

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Audio CD, April 13, 1993
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Berliner Solisten
  • Composer: Prokofiev, Hindemith
  • Audio CD (April 13, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000000SEX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,626 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Neither of the main offerings here belongs among the respective composers' most important works. Hindemith's octet was written for the curious combination of clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, two violas, cello and double bass. With this scoring the textures will easily clog up in the middle register, and Hindemith doesn't quite manage to avoid the problem - he was obviously aware of the challenge, but despite his evident skills in writing effectively for whatever combination he has at hand, the sound of the octet is often a little thick. Yet the slow movement is very fine and the ceremonial first movement works well - it is in the last movements that textures become disconcertingly opaque and heavy, to the extent that the music fails to take flight.

The Prokofiev quintet (for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass), which started life as a ballet, is certainly not thick-textured. This is a brilliant, excellently scored piece, full of air, elegance and sparkling wit. The thematic material, however, is not among the composer's most inspired, and while the work is eminently enjoyable it isn't among the composer's more memorable creations. The Overture is familiar enough, however. It receives a fine performance here and the few moments of apparent hesitation and flatness of sound do not detract from the overall quality of the playing. There is, possibly, even more room for sparkling wit in the quintet, but overall the performance is very good here as well. And while the Hindemith octet remains a little opaque it is certainly not the players' fault. The sound is good and overall this remains a firm recommendation if the repertoire appeals.
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