The Naxos label has done it once again with the latest installment of their "Portrait" series - this time on the life and music of the great 20th century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
The music contained on the 2 CDs provides an outstanding overview of Prokofiev's greatest works. Highlights from his seven symphonies, his first and third piano concertos, the two violin concertos, and the ballets "Romeo and Julliet" and "Cinderella" are all included here alongisde excerpts from "Lieutenant Kije", "The Love of Three Oranges", "Alexander Nevsky" and the immortal children's classic "Peter and The Wolf". The only questionable omission music-wise is the famous chamber piece "Overture on Hebrew Themes".
In addition to the great music, the set also includes a 106-page booklet which includes a lengthy detailed essay on the composer written by Gregory Hart. The essay included here arguably provides more in-depth information on Prokofiev than all the books I have personally read over the years. Several historic photos are interpersed throughout the booklet as well.
For someone who is just discovering the music of Prokofiev, I cannot think of a better recommendation than this "Portrait" collection. Both CDs are filled to their limits with 77-minutes of music on each disc. The essay is almost worth the price of this set alone.
Once again, the Naxos label has struck gold with the excellent "Portrait" of this brilliant musical genius. This is an item that will instantly convert you to being a Prokofiev die-hard.