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Lieutenant Kije

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Lieutenant Kijé - Andante Op.50bis - Automne - Suite de "Fleur de pierre" Op.118 - Rêve Op.6 / Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Neeme Järvi, direction

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Dreams, symphonic poem, Op. 6
  2. Andante for orchestra, Op. 50 bis (arr. from String Quartet No. 1, Op. 50)
  3. Autumnal Sketch, for orchestra, Op. 8
  4. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Prologue. The Mistress of the Copper Mountain
  5. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Wedding Suite, Op. 126. 1. Amorous Dance
  6. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Wedding Suite, Op. 126. 3. Maidens' Dance
  7. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Wedding Suite, Op. 126. 4. Ceremonial Dance
  8. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Wedding Suite, Op. 126. 5. Wedding Dance
  9. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Scene 4. No. 19. Scene and Waltz of the Diamonds
  10. The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118: Scene 4. No. 21. Waltz


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Scottish National Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jarvi
  • Composer: Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (August 26, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B001BXN8AY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,788 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By G.D. VINE VOICE on September 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This another of Chandos's reissues of some of Järvi's Prokofiev recordings in the 1980s, some of which acted as fillers in the releases of his superb symphony cycle, others picked seemingly at random from other Prokofiev releases. The music on this disc spans the whole of Prokofiev's compositional career, but there is no discernible thread between the works; not that this necessarily matters, and if the program appeals (e.g. if you need to complete your Prokofiev collection) then this disc can definitely be recommended.

The performance of the famous Lieutenant Kije suite holds up pretty well. The Scottish National Orchestra is colorful, flamboyant and spirited, though their attack isn't as sharp as in some alternative versions. Järvi's approach is tightly controlled to build up momentum, and he pulls off some pretty spectacular scenes. I am not sure this is the best version available, and I tend to incline toward Abbado's glitzier but warmer and more beautiful version on DG. The late ballet The Stone Flower may not be among Prokofiev's most inspired scores, but there is plenty there to make up some thoroughly enjoyable suites (the complete ballet is available in a spirited performance by Rozhdestvensky, as well as in versions conducted by Noseda and Jurowski, which I have not heard). What we get here is the first of three suites, augmented by the conductor, and while we only get a portion of the best music there is plenty to cherish, including a couple of gorgeous melodies. The performances are also deeply committed; colorful, atmospheric and passionate.

The main attraction, however, is the three smaller works; rare music that will probably be missing from many collections, yet rewarding and sometimes even striking music nonetheless.
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Chandos is doing us a favor by reissuing at mid-price the much-praised recordings of Prokofiev orchestral music with Neeme Järvi conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. These were recorded in the mid-1980s to early 1990s. The current series of CDs (of which I've already reviewed a couple of others: Prokofiev: The Prodigal Son and Prokofiev: Suite From 'The Buffoon'; Waltz Suite) tend to combine the contents differently than on the older CDs. This one contains a smashing performance of one of Prokofiev's most popular suites, 'Lieutentant Kijé', which was derived from the composer's first film score in 1933. The cornet represents the protagonist, the imaginary Kijé, and the RSNO's unnamed cornet player almost erases my memories of performances of the work by the Chicago Symphony with the redoubtable Bud Herseth playing cornet. Järvi is ably conveys the work's sense of humor, the polytonal sequences that represent Kijé's bibulous wedding, and the jolly sleigh ride. This performance is worth the price of the CD all by itself.

But the disc also contains Prokofiev's rarely played Suite from 'The Stone Flower', Op. 118, one of his last works. Indeed, Prokofiev died while the ballet was in rehearsal at the Bolshoi (and on the same day that Stalin died). This is not-quite-top-drawer Prokofiev but deserves to be heard. Probably the most appealing sections are those containing the peasant dances with their good-humored stomping and The Waltz of the Diamonds.
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Format: Audio CD
Every line is in place, every "i" dotted. Maestro Neeme Jarvi conducts a letter-perfect performance, and the Scottish National Orchestra play with a precision that would make the Berlin Philharmonic jealous. So, why did this "Lieutenant Kije" suite sound so dull to me? Fortunately, the accompanying works, particularly the suite from Prokofiev's ballet The Stone Flower, come off much better, the conductor's sensitivity completely at the disposal of the music. And with fine, vintage Chandos sound, the rest of the items on the program--Prokofiev's Dreams, the Andante, Op. 50, and Autumnal, Op. 8--go over smoothly and agreeably as well.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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