Thursday, February 28, 2008

CD REVIEW: Prokofiev Symphony No 5, Lt. Kije Suite


February 28, 2008

The Cincinnati Enquirer
By Janelle Gelfand


CSO warms Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev wrote his most popular symphony, Symphony No. 5, a decade after his ballet, "Romeo and Juliet." Yet one can hear links to the romantic tragedy in Paavo Järvi's 13th and newest recording with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
The symphony's premiere in 1945 coincided with the victory of the Red Army, and the story goes that artillery fire could be heard outside of Moscow during the performance. Although it's not "program" music, one can hear cannons rumbling in the distance and the finale is a relentless march.
Unlike the many other recordings of Prokofiev's Fifth, which emphasize the bite and tension of this victorious wartime symphony, Järvi's unfolds almost like a tone poem, vivid with imaginative dramatic detail, lyricism and led with natural, unforced pacing. The sound, recorded in Music Hall, is warm and atmospheric.
Nowhere is Järvi's romantic view so evident as in the slow movement, with its arching themes played in soaring violins, and its underlying sense of tragedy. The finale is bright, with precise playing by orchestral forces, including an electrifying, otherworldly march to the finish.
It's paired with Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije" Suite, intended for a film that never materialized. The satirical tale is of a fictitious Lieutenant, whose whole life is invented and illustrated musically through each movement. Järvi brings out the details of each characterization with wonderful color, flavor and tongue-in-cheek humor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"It's paired with Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije" Suite, intended for a film that never materialized."

The film most certainly did materialize. It's quite good, too and you can view it with subtitles at:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5960899000870748608

or

http://www.archive.org/details/LieutenantKizhe_0