London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev – Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet (2010)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & DST64 6.0 >1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front Cover | 7.78 GB
FLAC tracks 2.0 24bit/88.2 kHz | Front Cover | 2.14 GB
This 2008 live recording with the London Symphony Orchestra is Valery Gergiev’s 2nd complete recording of Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo & Juliet, the 1st being a 1991 Philips release with the Kirov Orchestra. This performance, like his 1st, is notable for its refinement & lyricism. It’s perhaps surprising that Gergiev, known for the wildness & ferocity of his performances of other Prokofiev works, like The Fiery Angel, shows such restraint here. Gergiev clearly understands the ballet as a work in which Prokofiev, writing originally for the Bolshoi, a theater known for its conservatism (although that production was canceled), tailored his score to follow in the tradition of the 3 great Tchaikovsky ballets. The composer certainly cuts loose when appropriate, as in the fierce Introduction to Act III & the various fights, but the score is exceptional in its delicacy & finely calibrated orchestration. Because it is a “numbers” ballet, made up of a series of discrete movements or sections, it’s easy for the complete, nearly 2.5 hour ballet to come across as episodic, especially without the visual element to hold the narrative together. Gergiev does an excellent job of keeping the dramatic momentum going at the same time as he gives loving attention to its many exquisite details, & even though his approach is refined, that doesn’t mean that it in any way lacks passion, intensity, & suspense. Another strong recommendation for this performance is the fact that it is the 1st recording of the ballet as the composer originally conceived it. In preparation for the ballet’s Russian premiere at the Kirov Theatre in 1940, Prokofiev reluctantly cut or altered some numbers & added others. This version, prepared for the Mark Morris Dance Group by Princeton musicologist Simon Morrison, restores the composer’s original intentions for the scenario & the music. Gergiev led the LSO in accompanying Morris’ British premiere of the restored version in 2008, & went on to conduct it in concert, the source of this recording. The sound of the SACD is clean, clear, & brilliant. This is a recording that should be of strong interest to Gergiev’s fans & anyone who loves the music.