Friday, March 14, 2008

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

March 9, 2008

Conductor hits his stride with Prokofiev recording
Edward Reichel
Deseret Morning News

PAAVO JARVI, CONDUCTOR, CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; Prokofiev: "Lieutenant Kije" Suite, Symphony No. 5 (Telarc) ***
Paavo Jarvi has made quite a few recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony since becoming its music director.
The quality of the performances on these CDs has been inconsistent and hasn't accurately reflected on Jarvi's talents as a conductor. Fortunately, artistic quality has improved radically. Jarvi has found his stride as a recording artist, and now his releases are something to anticipate.
With so many record labels and recordings of the same works on the market, that's important. And while the market hasn't been inundated with recordings of Prokofiev's "Liuetenant Kije" Suite or his Fifth Symphony, there are still plenty of choices. And Jarvi's recent release has quite a lot to recommend it.
Prokofiev's Fifth is probably his best symphony. It's a large, ambitious work, grand in scale and one that can easily stand on its own merits next to almost any of Dmitri Shostakovich's symphonic works. The Fifth is quite lyrical, and Jarvi captures this wonderfully, coaxing a richly expressive reading from his orchestra. It's a lucid and compellingly eloquent performance.
The music Prokofiev wrote for "Lieutenant Kije" is among his most colorful and dynamic, owing no doubt to the fact it was written as a film score. Jarvi captures the music's vibrancy, poignancy, lyricism and humor wonderfully. This is a captivating and entertaining reading of one of Prokofiev's most thrilling scores.

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