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Prokofiev Plays Prokofiev Import

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 16, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

With some trivial exceptions, mostly piano rolls, this disc compiles Prokofiev's complete recordings as a pianist. It's a pity there are so few of them, but we are fortunate to have any. The composer's brilliance in his own popular Third Piano Concerto has never been surpassed, not even by such contemporary virtuosi as Argerich and Toradze. The way he tosses off the showers of rushing chords just before the end of the last movement is a typical illustration of Prokofiev's amazing pianism. Even the sluggish playing of the LSO under the direction of Coppola, a company hack from French EMI, doesn't diminish the value or the thrills of this performance. The selection of piano music, brief as it is, reveals the contrasting facets of Prokofiev's style, and his playing reflects moods from the sarcastic brilliance of Suggestion diabolique to the touching poignance of the slow movement from the Fourth Piano Sonata. Superbly transferred by Mark Obert-Thorn, this listenable and compelling disc is a model of what historical reissues should be in both content and presentation. --Leslie Gerber


1. Pno Con No.3 in C, Op.26: Andante - Allegro
2. Pno Con No.3 in C, Op.26: Tema Con Variazioni (Andantino)
3. Pno Con No.3 in C, Op.26: Allegro Ma Non Troppo
4. Suggestion Diabolique, Op.4 No.4
5. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.9 Allegro Tranquillo
6. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.3 Allegretto
7. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.17 Poetico
8. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.18 Con Una Dolce Lentezza
9. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.11 Con Vivacita
10. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.10 Ridicolosamente
11. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.16 Dolente
12. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.6 Con Eleganza
13. Visions Fugitives, Op.22 (Extracts): No.5 Molto Giocosa
14. Pno Pieces: 'Classical' Sym, Op.25: Gavotte
15. Pno Pieces: Son No.4, Op.29: Andante Assai
16. Pno Pieces: Conte De La Vielle Grand-Mere, Op.31 No.2
17. Pno Pieces: Conte De La Vielle Grand-Mere, Op.31 No.3
18. Pno Pieces: Gavotte, Op.32 No.3
19. Pno Pieces: Etude, Op.52
20. Pno Pieces: Sonatine Pastorale, Op.59 No.3
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Sergey Prokofiev
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Piero Coppola
  • Composer: Sergey Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (October 16, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005NUP1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,583 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Hank Drake VINE VOICE on December 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The line of great composer-pianists began with Mozart, included Beethoven and Chopin, and ended with Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. We are fortunate indeed that these last two left behind recordings of their own works. This CD brings together Prokofiev's complete recordings.

The composer recorded his most popular Piano Concerto, the Third in 1932. The performance, despite dated sound, remains extraordinary. Despite his reputation as a percussive pianist, Prokofiev brings more color and attention to phrasing here than most pianists would today. He was obviously an extraordinary technician, despite a few very minor finger slips. Contrary to the comments of the Amazon reviewer, Piero Coppola was no company hack. He was a respected conductor who specialized in opera and concertos, rather like Alfred Wallenstein and Josef Krips, who were Arthur Rubinstein's chosen accompanists two decades later. Considering that tape editing was not yet possible, and that Prokofiev's Third Concerto was not exactly the repertoire staple it is today, the London Symphony Orchestra provides a satisfactory accompaniment. Purists might quibble with the liberal use of string portamento, but the composer--who was not known for his tact--evidently had no objection.

The solo works (particularly Suggestion diabolique) demonstrate Prokofiev's exuberance, command of tone color, and ability to shift gears, pianistically.

Mark Obert-Thorn has done an excellent job restoring the original 78-RPM recordings. The sound is full and not overly filtered. This CD is not to be missed.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Louie Bourland on August 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"Prokofiev Plays Prokofiev" on the Naxos label collects all of the recordings made by the great Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev onto one disc. Unlike Rachmaninoff who made many recordings of his own works as well as works by other composers, Prokofiev made very few recordings. Because of this, the "Prokofiev Plays Prokofiev" disc offers a rare glimpse into the composer's talents as a pianist/performer.

Included on this disc is a one-of-a-kind performance of Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto recorded in 1932 at the famed Abbey Road Studios (this is exactly 30 years before the Beatles made Abbey Road a household name). On this recording, Prokofiev shows off his effortless chops as a pianist while the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Piero Coppola provides a strong backdrop to the composer's up-front-and-center piano.

Filling out the disc are solo piano recordings made by Prokofiev in Paris in 1935. Here, he gives authentic renditions of his "Suggestion Diabolique" as well as stellar excerpts from his 20-part "Visions Fugitives", the Gavotte movement from his famous "Classical Symphony" (Symphony No.1), the closing movement of his Fourth Piano Sonata and other shorter piano pieces.

Getting to hear Prokofiev play his own music brings a definitve sense of authenticity to the music. You get to hear the composer perform the music as they originally intended it to be executed. While he is not as powerful of a pianist as Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev does display a dynamic and flawless technique on these historic recordings. The audio restoration and digital remastering is amazing bringing clarity and depth to the original recordings without much surface noise or imperfections that are common with old 78 RPM records.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Lipscomb on June 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
There is certainly a range of opinions among the reviewers here as to the merits of these composer-played performances. So here are a few dissenting remarks of my own. I have to take issue with Amazon editorialist Leslie Gerber's characterization of Piero Coppola as a "hack" conductor. In addition to his work here in Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto, Coppola left many very distinguished 78 rpm recordings: one of the earliest and best accounts of Bizet's "Carmen," a great reading of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, and many pathbreaking accounts of Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, etc.

As the typically well-written and informative review here by Hank Drake indicates, Piero Coppola was also grandfather of the famed film director Francis Ford Coppola. It's interesting to note that the latter's "Godfather" films are essentially grand operas of pride and revenge (especially III, where the climactic final scenes are actually set in an opera house during a performance of Mascagni's similarly-themed "Cavalleria Rusticana"). Piero's son Carmine Coppola was a film composer (e.g., a small part of the otherwise Rota-composed Godfather films, and a very Satie-esque, Gymnopedie-like film score for "The Black Stallion"). It's also worth noting that the Prokofiev 3rd can be heard as a prize-winning peformance in the delightful film "The Competition," starring Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving (the Prokofiev excerpts heard in the film were played by pianist Daniel Pollack).

I'm afraid I can't agree with Mr. Drake's characterization of this 3rd Concerto's performance as "definitive." There are just too many equally valid ways to perform a great work, none of which should be called the "one and only.
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