Stunning orchestral suites, recorded from 1965 to 1974
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 11/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a gigantic, no-frills package of first-rate Prokofiev. Originally recorded between 1965 and 1974, this Decca Double includes six works, five of them major -- Autumnal, the Scythian Suite, Chout, The Prodigal Son, Lt. Kije, and The Stone Flower. Autumnal was composed in 1910 before Prokofiev left Russia, and was influenced by Scriabin and Debussy. The Scythian Suite, Chout and The Prodigal Son were all Paris works, intended for Diaghilev's ballets.
The young Prokofiev was brilliant, urbane, witty, and definitely should not have been in Stravinsky's shadow. Lt. Kije was written as a Soviet film score in the early-mid 1930s, paving the way for Prokofiev's return. Kije contains three memorable themes, which are interwoven in the last movement. Prokofiev's populist touch here at its best! The Stone Flower, a 50-minute work, was one of his last compositions, based on Urals folk songs. The Stone Flower is lushly melodic -- Prokofiev was only getting better at the time of his tragic death in 1953 (in the same hour as Stalin!).
Prokofiev had a gift comparable to Mozart's. Prokofiev and Shostakovich, the Russian Mozart and Beethoven of the 20th century!"