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Alexander Nevsky/Scythian Suit

Valery Gergiev , Sergei Prokofiev Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 33.95
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Product Details

1. I. The Adoration Of Veles And Ala
2. II. The Enemy Of God And The Dance Of The Black Spirits
3. III. Night
4. IV. The Glorious Departure Of Lolly And Procession Of The Sun
5. I. Russia Under The Mongolian Yoke
6. II. Song Of Alexander Nevsky - Olga Borodina
7. III. The CrusadersOf Pskov
8. IV. Arise, Russian People
9. V. The Battle On The Ice
10. VI. The Field Of The Dead
11. VII. Alexander's Entry Into Pskov

Product Description

Chronique amazon.fr

On garde devant les yeux les images des films d'Eisenstein, Ivan le Terrible et Alexandre Nevski, fruits d'une collaboration extraordinaire entre le réalisateur et Prokofiev. Gergiev a visualisé cette musique qu'il transcrit avec une férocité et un sens du spectacle inouï. Il bénéficie de l'Orchestre du Kirov qui n'est pas un modèle de souplesse et d'élégance sonore. Les accents sont réduits à l'état brut, mais la pulsation primitive des courses de deux armées l'une contre l'autre dans La Bataille sur la glace sont des morceaux d'anthologie. Cet engagement physique est tout aussi bouleversant d'expressivité dans la Suite Scythe, version remaniée du ballet Ala Lolly que Diaghilev refusa de produire. Ces musiques païennes, et pourtant si modernes et complexes sur le plan harmonique, ne pouvaient trouver un chef d'orchestre plus inspiré. Nous sommes immergés dans cette folie collective malgré un chœur très en deçà de la qualité requise. --Étienne Bertoli

From Amazon.com

There are plenty of fine performances of Alexander Nevsky available on CD and a handful of the Scythian Suite as well, but this pairing is thrilling in the extreme with sonics which allow us to hear every bit of Prokofiev's fascinating, always original scoring. The early Suite, composed for a ballet which was never performed, at times sounds more like Stravinsky than Stravinsky, but has Prokofiev's unique flavor attached. The large percussion section thumps, grinds, and tinkles and the performance is as viscerally exciting as can be. Nevsky, composed for the Eisenstein film of the same name, remains a true masterpiece. The Kirov Orchestra and Chorus have this music in their blood, they play and sing beautifully, and overall they turn in a very moving performance. Olga Borodina's gorgeous mezzo-soprano is used alternately with fervor and sensitivity, and, while the competition is fierce, it must be said that she's the top contender in this music. This is a potent performance of this epic score, and Gergiev is to be commended for his obviously deep understanding. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent but unique interpretation Nov. 4 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I have a number of recordings of the Alexander Nevsky (one even narrated by Christopher Plummer, and an excellent recording it is) and I have to admit that it is hard to find a bad recording of the work. There are treasures to find in each one, though the interpretations by the various conductors are quite different. Gergiev brings a very unique interpretation to this work, making it almost as intense as Russian Litergy music. The chorus is just as much a "star" as the orchestra. His approach is gentiler, but no less intense than other interpretation. I find the music extremely moving. Olga Borodina, who sings in only one selection in the entire disk (the field of the dead), so for those buying it for her, you are not going to get a very long time to enjoy her voice, however, what you hear is breathtaking. One thing I really enjoy is she knows the language she is singing. There are other recordings where the mezzo is not Russian, nor is that language naturally her own (even if she does speak it somewhat), and it is so nice to hear subtlies and inflections in the language one often misses. Her voice is very beautiful, and in this case, the fact she stays away from a large heroic sound only adds to the tenderness of the moment.
The ballet suit, Scythian Suite, is quite a departure for Prokofiev. It was written earlier in his career, and yes, at times he sounds more like Stravinsky than Stravinsky does. It is interesting that once he wrote this ballet, and found a voice in that "modernism", he abandoned it. His style from that point on became more traditional (but by no means old fashioned, he was still very much a man of his times). I have only heard one other recording of this piece, so I am not that well versed on it, however, this performance is quite exciting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Russian Prokofiev! April 10 2003
Format:Audio CD
The Scythian Suite can be said to be The Rite of Spring of Prokofiev's. It is almost as brutal and loud as the latter piece. Prokofiev's teacher Glazunov left the concert hall during the final climax because he was afraid his hearing would be damaged. There are many good recordings of this suite. Personally, I like Abbado's and Celibidaches's recordings. Weller's and Rattle's recordings I find a bit poorer. One might assume that Valery Gergiev and the Kirov would make the most robust and extravagant interpretation of the piece but this expectation is proven wrong right at the beginning. For Gergiev this is not an orchestral showpiece where the players can show their virtuosity but a piece that is very much grounded in Russian culture and history.
The opening tempo is very slow and I almost missed the extreme tempo of Rattle's, but unlike any other conductor that I know of Gergiev emphasizes the importance of the calm and quiet part of the movement. After hearing this recording for a couple of times I started to like this interpretation very much because the Kirov strings create an amazing dark character for the movement. And I think no western orchestra can play it like this. Still I think the beginning could have been played more viciously. The second movement is also much slower than for example Abbado's and at the beginning I find the tempo even a bit too slow. Another problem is that the brass cover the strings too often. But the playing gets better as the movement progresses. Gergiev also decides to make a fermata right before the end.
The best is yet to come. I usually skip the third movement but Gergiev's interpretation of it is just magnificent.
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By John Kwok TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Gergiev and his Kirov Orchestra are undoubtedly among our finest contemporary interpreters of Prokofiev's music. Their latest recording is the finest Alexander Nevsky I have yet heard. The orchestra truly has Prokofiev's dark Russian score in its blood, providing a dynamic interpretation of this cantata. Soloist Olga Borodina is splendid, singing with much warmth and intensity. Gergiev is noted for his dramatic climaxes and there are plenty to be heard in this vibrant interpretation. The Scythian Suite may not be as swift or as dramatic as Abbado's critically acclaimed interpretation, but Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra have one which is just as successful. Theirs is a brooding, intense performance which harkens to Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps. The sound quality is superb for both performances, especially the Alexander Nevsky, which was recorded live in Moscow. Fans of Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra will not be disappointed with this recording.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, No More Aug. 14 2003
Format:Audio CD
Alexander Nevsky is one of my favorite pieces of music, and Gergieiv does a pretty good job overall. The brass sounds rather flabby in places, without the hard edge necessary for this piece to really come off properly. I doubt I'll listen to this recording again. ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Nevsky ever recorded! May 27 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Quite an intense performance, scattering to the winds Shostakovich's criticism of the score as unemotional. Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra are some of the best Prokofiev interpreters out there. The Scythian Suite is also interesting, though not as gripping as Nevsky.
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