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Alexander Nevsky

Prokofiev Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.96 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details


1. Russia Under The Mongolian Yoke - Stanislavsky Chorus
2. Song About Alexander Nevsky - Stanislavsky Chorus
3. The Crusaders In Pskov - Stanislavsky Chorus
4. Arise, Ye Russian People - Stanislavsky Chorus
5. The Battle On The Ice - Stanislavsky Chorus
6. The Field Of Death - Irina Gelahova
7. Alexander's Entry Into Pskov - Stanislavsky Chorus
8. Hermann - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
9. Liza - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
10. Ball (Polonaise) - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
11. Menuet - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
12. Polka - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
13. Mazurka - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
14. (Polonaise, Scene At The Fountain) Sambor's Castle - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
15. Ghost Of Hamlet's Father - Russian State Symphony Orchestra
16. Dance Of The Oprichniks - Russian State Symphony Orchestra

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gutsy, vibrant performance of Prokofiev Cantata April 11 2004
Format:Audio CD
Adapting the film music he wrote for the trailblazing Sergei Einsensteim film about the great Russian hero Alexander Nevsky, Prokofiev outdid himself in color, the artful massing of huge musical forces, and sheet panorama of effect. I am reviewing both the CD and the DVD-audio versions of this recording; because I started off with the CD and later switched to the incredible DVD-audio version. Though I don't see the DVD-audio version listed on this website, that is probably just a glitch since I easily obtained it from my local store.
I am a great fan of the cantata. I have always reveled in the grand sweep of the orchestral writing; and the familiar Battle on the Ice scene will probably be one cut you can use to show off your rig. Particularly if you have a multi-channel system, the DVD-audio disc will stun and amaze you with the great waves of sound. There is more going on that just fast car chases or thundering explosions in this cantata. Musically, the heroic sweep of the historical moment is etched, using a chorus to characterize both the Russian people and the invading Teutonic knights. Prokofiev's ability to write dramatic high points, in keeping with the story, is not in doubt. But the equally lovely Prokofiev capacity for lyric sweetness gets plenty of exposure and almost steals the show, lingering long after the big moments have echoed away.
First off, I was disappointed in the CD. I have a good basic multichannel system (Bryston power amps/B&K preamp, running five full-range Def Tech speakers), and I found the 16-bit regular CD sound stage too flat to be interesting. The performance in CD just sounded too rough and ready, too brash and headlong to capture and recreate all the subtleties that the composer has written into this cantata.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Nevsky, and More Aug. 12 2003
Format:Audio CD
Prokofiev's cantata drawn from his movie score to Sergei Eisenstein's 'Alexander Nevsky' has become justly well-beloved, and has had numerous fine recordings, not the least of which is the terrific full-priced one by Valery Gergiev (coupled with a coruscating 'Scythian Suite') released earlier this year. This CD contains another Russian performance of the piece on the budget label Naxos. The conductor, Dmitry Yablonsky, perhaps better known as a cellist, leads the Russian State Symphony and the Stanislavsky Chorus in a fine performance. It has much in common with earlier recordings and has the added benefit of beautiful Russian choral sound and diction. The mezzo soloist, Irina Gelahova, who sings the part of the young woman searching for her lover--'that fine lad'--in 'The Field of Death', has a hauntingly plangent voice.
In 1960 Gennady Rozhdestvensky compiled a suite excerpted from music that Prokofiev wrote for three stage productions during the centenary of Pushkin's death--'Eugene Onegin,' 'The Queen of Spades,' and 'Boris Godunov,' none of which, for political reasons, reached fruition. [These are not to be confused with the operas by Tchaikovsky and Musorgsky.] This is vintage Prokofiev and indeed he used some of the music later in his opera 'War and Peace.' He particularly was intrigued by the 'Eugene Onegin' production and wrote considerable music for it, much of it as 'melodrama', spoken text over accompanying music. This was never performed until 1980 when the BBC presented it complete in a new English translation by Sir Charles Johnston. That production has been recorded on Chandos, in a production by Timothy West (who reads the part of the narrator), with the Docklands Sinfonietta (renamed Sinfonia 21) conducted by Sir Edward Downes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Nevsky, and More Aug. 12 2003
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Prokofiev's cantata drawn from his movie score to Sergei Eisenstein's 'Alexander Nevsky' has become justly well-beloved, and has had numerous fine recordings, not the least of which is the terrific full-priced one by Valery Gergiev (coupled with a coruscating 'Scythian Suite') released earlier this year. This CD contains another Russian performance of the piece on the budget label Naxos. The conductor, Dmitry Yablonsky, perhaps better known as a cellist, leads the Russian State Symphony and the Stanislavsky Chorus in a fine performance. It has much in common with earlier recordings and has the added benefit of beautiful Russian choral sound and diction. The mezzo soloist, Irina Gelahova, who sings the part of the young woman searching for her lover--'that fine lad'--in 'The Field of Death', has a hauntingly plangent voice.
In 1960 Gennady Rozhdestvensky compiled a suite excerpted from music that Prokofiev wrote for three stage productions during the centenary of Pushkin's death--'Eugene Onegin,' 'The Queen of Spades,' and 'Boris Godunov,' none of which, for political reasons, reached fruition. [These are not to be confused with the operas by Tchaikovsky and Musorgsky.] This is vintage Prokofiev and indeed he used some of the music later in his opera 'War and Peace.' He particularly was intrigued by the 'Eugene Onegin' production and wrote considerable music for it, much of it as 'melodrama', spoken text over accompanying music. This was never performed until 1980 when the BBC presented it complete in a new English translation by Sir Charles Johnston. That production has been recorded on Chandos, in a production by Timothy West (who reads the part of the narrator), with the Docklands Sinfonietta (renamed Sinfonia 21) conducted by Sir Edward Downes. That complete version is quite wonderful and still available here at Amazon.com.
The disc is filled out by two short selections from other incidental music by Prokofiev--the suitably spooky 'Ghost of Hamlet's Father' from his music for Sergei Radlov's production of 'Hamlet,' and the brutal 'Dance of the Oprichniks' from the never-completed Eisenstein film trilogy of 'Ivan the Terrible.'
This release is recommendable for several reasons. It is budget-priced and contains a fine performance of one of the finest choral/orchestral pieces of the 20th century, 'Alexander Nevsky.' And it has some fairly rare but prime stage and film music by one of the masters of that genre, Sergey Prokofiev. Another plus is the fine recorded sound; just listen to those first few bars of 'Nevsky'--high strings in unison with the basses and bassoons four octaves below--and experience the visceral effect that only rich life-like sound can provide.
Recommended.
Scott Morrison
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gutsy, vibrant performance of Prokofiev Cantata April 11 2004
By drdanfee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Adapting the film music he wrote for the trailblazing Sergei Einsensteim film about the great Russian hero Alexander Nevsky, Prokofiev outdid himself in color, the artful massing of huge musical forces, and sheet panorama of effect. I am reviewing both the CD and the DVD-audio versions of this recording; because I started off with the CD and later switched to the incredible DVD-audio version. Though I don't see the DVD-audio version listed on this website, that is probably just a glitch since I easily obtained it from my local store.
I am a great fan of the cantata. I have always reveled in the grand sweep of the orchestral writing; and the familiar Battle on the Ice scene will probably be one cut you can use to show off your rig. Particularly if you have a multi-channel system, the DVD-audio disc will stun and amaze you with the great waves of sound. There is more going on that just fast car chases or thundering explosions in this cantata. Musically, the heroic sweep of the historical moment is etched, using a chorus to characterize both the Russian people and the invading Teutonic knights. Prokofiev's ability to write dramatic high points, in keeping with the story, is not in doubt. But the equally lovely Prokofiev capacity for lyric sweetness gets plenty of exposure and almost steals the show, lingering long after the big moments have echoed away.
First off, I was disappointed in the CD. I have a good basic multichannel system (Bryston power amps/B&K preamp, running five full-range Def Tech speakers), and I found the 16-bit regular CD sound stage too flat to be interesting. The performance in CD just sounded too rough and ready, too brash and headlong to capture and recreate all the subtleties that the composer has written into this cantata. The chorus is miked from some distance, and sounds like massed voices without vocal individualities of tone. Good try, I thought, but probably not a CD keeper.
Next, I put on the DVD-audio version of this same performance. Wow, what a difference. The sound stage opens up, such that the whole venue of the largish recording studio is now spread out before you, sonically. The frequency range is, given the 24-bit expansion, as good or better than captured on the regular CD. The orchestra still retains its rough and ready tonal qualities, but a new polish is also captured, so that what previously seemed disappointing and flat now seems extra-vivid, tonally piquant, and entirely appropriate for the character and meaning of this work. Violins, woodwinds, and even brass have a sheen and a phrasing that barely begins to be evident in the regular CD version. The quieter moments are almost more compelling in DVD-audio than the loud moments. Even when the orchestra and chorus are all going full out, the sound stage does not compress or collapse on DVD-audio, and you get a differentiated sound stage with multiple images of all the instruments and singers. Even with the chorus having been miked from a bit of distance, on DVD-audio you get vivid reproduction of the chorus as large body of singers composed of individual singers with distinctive voices. Since the chorus is representing the Russian people, this kind of variety and intensity of intonation only adds to the musical effect. Irina Gelhova acquits herself well as the soloist, musing in grief over the battlefield with its slain warriors and lamenting their deaths while committing herself to marry a Russian hero. Multi-channel surround sound seems invented for just this kind of music, and the DVD-audio version lets it all ring out.
Even if your DVD player will only play DolbyDig, you can still get the surround sound because a standard movie sound mix is included on the DVD along with the even more fastidious DVD-audio mix. (I am using the recent Pioneer DVD-563A universal format player; it does very well in all formats.)
My conclusion: Five stars in DVD-audio; Two stars in regular CD. If you are restricted to standard CD, the recording from Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony will easily eclipse the Naxos. Jard Nes is the soloist. Mid-price on RCA/BMG you can still find the old but very good Reiner/Chicago Symphony recording with Rosalind Elias as soloist. But consider getting into DVD-audio, with the newer and more affordable universal players (Best Buy locally had the Pioneer for 140.--), you can achieve glorious musical surround in your own home or apartment. Naxos is apparently planning other high resolution releases in both SACD and DVD-audio; so upgrading will connect you in the future with probably stunning recordings on this label. Other worthy Naxos release in the DVD-audio format include: A wonderful Vivaldi Four Seasons; Highlights of the complete recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni; Elgar's completed third symphony; Holst's Planets. One can only hope that Naxos, who have released a very good Mussorgsky Pictures (Kuchar/Ukraine Symphony) on regular CD will see fit to also release a DVD-audio version. That would truly be something to hear and hear again. The next round of Naxos will include a Rachmaninoff 2&3 piano concerto recording, with the redoubtable Scherbakov. Naxos is releasing it in both high resolution formats: SACD and DVD-audio.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Posthumous OSCAR Goes to Sergei Prokofiev ... March 1 2011
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
... for Career Achievement in the composition of original music for the Cinema! And three more OSCARS for "best soundtrack" of 1933 (Lieutenant Kijé), 1938 (Alexander Nevsky), and 1943 (Ivan the Terrible). Can there be any doubt that Prokofiev (1891-1953) was the greatest composer of cinema music of any decade in any country?

This CD is not, thank goodness, the scratchy soundtrack from Eisenstein's superb propaganda epic Alexander Nevsky. Prokofiev restructured the soundtrack scores for all three of his great films for concert performance, with Lieutenant Kijé becoming a thrilling instrumental suite and Alexander Nevsky becoming a Cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra in seven movements. That Cantata is what's recorded here, sung by mezzo Irina Gelahova with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, in 2002. Also included is one movement from "Ivan the Terrible", the Dance of the Oprichniks. Composing for films gave Prokofiev access to a broader audience than his ballets and operas ever could have reached, and Prokofiev responded by producing music that is uniquely, broadly "popular" in character yet as subtle and crafty as his symphonies. Prokofiev was above all a superb melodist, arguably the finest melodist of his century; what other composer's melodies are so memorable, so vividly "hummable"? Ironically, given his woes during the Stalin Inquisition years, perhaps his compromised fealty to the USSR released his melodic genius while also requiring him to express his personal anguish in the subtleties of his piano sonatas.

Prokofiev was also a masterful composer of theater music, evidenced on this CD by "Puskiniana", the reassembled suite of incidental pieces for two stage productions and a film, none of which were brought to fruition. The incidental music for the Leningrad staging of Shakespeare's Hamlet had a better fate; only one movement of ten, the music for the appearance of the Ghost of Hamlet's Father, is recorded here, but that six-minute piece is potently evocative.

All of this grand expressive music is well performed and well recorded on this bargain CD from Naxos.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A budget release fully up to its best Russian rivals June 6 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In 2003 the Gramophone reviewed this budget Nevsky from Yablonsky at the same time as Gergiev's prestige Nevsky on Philips, at full price. The outcome was a clear win for the Yablonsky, although one felt that the contest was rigged, since the reviewer found imaginary flaws in the Gergiev and imaginary virtues in tis release. Both versions are very Russian compared to what we considered standard recommendations before the fall of the Soviet Union, i.e., Reiner and Abbado. In terms of catching the real idiom of the score, not to mention genuine Russian pronunciation, the interpretations from Temirkanov, Gergiev, and now Yablonsky ring with authenticity.

Which to choose? My first choice is Temirkanov (RCA), because he conductors the full film score and because his approach is hell-for-leather. Prokofiev's music teeters between crossover and classical. Shostakovich disdained it for being excessively loud and bombastic. I like the thrill of Hollywood-on-the-Volga. Gergiev, at the opposite end, is grimly serious about the score. His account is virtuosic but decidedly no fun. Too often you feel bludgeoned with a blunt instrument. Yablonsky cannot boast the quality of orchestra nd chorus possessed by his two rivals, but his forces are no slouch, either, and Naxos's expansive sound really sounds like it belongs on the silver screen. The approach is exciting without quite the hellbent excess of Temirkanov. The Gramophone found imaginary problems with the choruses in the Gergiev and Yablonsky versions; I didn't except for some dodgy intonation when Yablonsky's chorus hits the loudest, most hectic parts. Olga Borodina, singing for Gergiev, is the best soloist in The Field of Death, but who buys Nevsky based on a six-minute lament?

Your choice may come down to th fillers. Temirkanov has none, since he does the complete score. Gergiev offers a sterling reading of the Scythian Suite, perhaps the best around. Yablonsky has the virtue of novelty. Scott Morrison has already gone into detail about these rarely recorded incidental pieces. They are tuneful but not first-rate; one is in the basement of Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella, two stage works that called forth much more inspiration from the composer. still, if you are inclined that way, this is a marvelous Nevsky at the right rpice.
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