A super-budget reissue of a Prokofiev spectacular
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sony wasn't able to push the original issue of this recording on the public. Salonen's spectacular collaboration with the Berlin Phil., caught in magnificent digital sonics, was overshadowed by other versions. There's an even better recording with the same orchestra under Abbado on DG, but Salonen doesn't fall under its shade musically. The chief drawback is that at 55 min. we get short shrift compared to 68 min. from Abbado and a full 78 min. from Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Sym. (RCA).
Salonen takes a large-scale view of the score, assigning crushing weight to the conflict--even the Knights' Dance feels like an armored invasion. He is notably an objective conductor, but his phrasing is lyrical here without falling into sentimentality. There are more luscious accounts of this music but none better played. That poses a dilemma for fans of MTT, since despite his generous timings, the San Francisco Sym. is no match for the supreme virtuosity of the Berliners. The deciding factor may be that Salonen's collection can be had for under $2 on the used market here at Amazon."
Bountiful Recording of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why this recording of the much of the wondrous score of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet ROMEO AND JULIET by Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Berlin Philharmonic recorded in 1986 has not become a staple in the recorded repertoire is a major puzzle. Perhaps it is because Salonen elected not to record the entire ballet or because of the multitude of other recordings available at the time. Whatever the error in marketing judgment, that error has been corrected courtesy of Sony's Essential Classics series. Rush to buy this before it the supply is depleted!
Salonen and the brilliant Berlin Philharmonic manage to capture all of the drama of this radiant score - from the tense Montague/Capulet encounters, to the playfulness of the Dance with Mandolins and the interplay with the nurse and the Montague boys to the splendid passion of the love portions and the heart rending reading of the Death of Juliet. The playing is never less than perfect and Salonen's attention to not only the technical virtuosity of the piece but also to the overall drama is for this listener the finest on recording.
As an extra perk to adding this to the library is the low low price of the CD. This is a recording to enhance the listening experience of all music lovers. Grady Harp, August 09"