Alto have cornered the market in the re-animation of Tring and RPO CDs of the mid-1990s. This one was previously available as RPO Records 204496-201 and it still has a lot going for it.
The Romeo and Juliet
movements are played with sturdy neon-lit brilliance. There’s plenty of vehemence in Simonov
’s thunderous iron-shod way with Montagues and Capulets
. The RPO, who have done similar über
-Russian things with conductor Yuri Temirkanov, play magnificently for Simonov who indulges portentous and heavy brocade in the Roerich and Bakst Bolshoi tradition. He relishes the ticking Khachaturian-Spartacus
echoes in Minuet
and throughout encourages pawky character from the woodwind principals. The Death of Tybalt
is carried off with tragedy- suffused deliberation. Here is Whitman’s “the great convulsive drum” personified. He adds devastating symphonic gravitas to Romeo at Juliet’s Grave
bringing back memories of a similarly impressive - even overbearing - performance at the 1982 Proms when Muti conducted the visiting Philadelphia Orchestra.
The Classical Symphony
is done with explosive delicacy and both recording and treatment make this far from small in scale. It’s a little over-warm and excessively urgent in the second movement. The finale is swimmingly speedy while the Gavotte is overly deliberate. It’s good if you want this Symphony with more passion. I have always had an affection for the Malko version on CFP
but the sound here is so much greener. A raucous knockabout Kijé
full of misrule in the manner of The Love of Three Oranges
brings this disc to a highly coloured close.
There’s nothing quotidian here though some may find it all a shade too much; not me. Simonov is well worth following: try his Stravinsky ballets on Regis
and a reportedly exceptional Mahler 1
. Also very good is his Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 2, Francesca
Liner notes are by James Murray who, as usual, hits the spot.
Masterwork Index: Prokofiev Symphony 1
Romeo And Juliet
(excerpts) - Suites No. 1 (Opus 64A), No. 2 (Opus 101)
1 Montagues and Capulets [5:32]
2 The Child Juliet [4:08]
3 Friar Lawrence [2:42]
4 Morning Dance [2:24]
5 Minuet [3:25]
6 Masks [2:08]
7 Death of Tybalt [5:41]
8 Dance [2:04]
9 Romeo at the Grave of Juliet [6:37]
Symphony No. 1, Op. 25 'Classical'
10 Allegro [4:26]
11 Larghetto [4:24]
12 Gavotta, Non Troppo Allegro [1:50]
13 Finale Molto Vivace [1:50]
Symphonic Suite, Op. 60 'Lieutenant Kijé'
14 Birth of Kijé [4:34]
15 Romance [5:09]
16 Wedding of Kijé [3:04]
17 Troika [3:02]
18 Burial of Kijé [6:14]