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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet (Scenes from the Ballet)

Michael Tilson Thomas Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.88
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Product Details

1. Romeo And Juliet: Introduction To Act I
2. Romeo And Juliet: Romeo
3. Romeo And Juliet: The Street Awakens
4. Romeo And Juliet: The Quarrel
5. Romeo And Juliet: The Fight
6. Romeo And Juliet: The Duke's Command
7. Romeo And Juliet: Interlude
8. Romeo And Juliet: Nurse
9. Romeo And Juliet: Young Juliet
10. Romeo And Juliet: Arrival Of The Guests
11. Romeo And Juliet: Dance Of The Knights
12. Romeo And Juliet: Mercutio
13. Romeo And Juliet: Madrigol
14. Romeo And Juliet: Gavotte
15. Romeo And Juliet: Balcony Scene
16. Romeo And Juliet: Introduction To Act III
17. Romeo And Juliet: Folk Dance
18. Romeo And Juliet: Dance With Mandolins
19. Romeo And Juliet: Public Merrymaking
20. Romeo And Juliet: The Meeting Of Tybalt And Mercutio
See all 29 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Michael Tilson Thomas's watershed disc Romeo and Juliet: Scenes from the Ballet illustrates his conductorial strengths: rhythmic drive, dramatic thrust, fairly wide tempo variations, firm control of orchestral balances, and a questing musical vision (he's assembled his own suite rather than use the standard versions). It also confirms his affinity for Russian music--he obviously relishes Prokofiev's folk-inspired tunes. There's a welcome touch of volatility, too; faster sections have a propulsive forward motion, with an explosive quality to scenes like the snappy "Folk Dance" and the fight music. The conception is symphonic--it might be hard for dancers to sustain the slow tempos imposed on some scenes--and the orchestra, aside from a hint of leanness in the strings, plays superbly. Lavishly lush sonics. A feast for the ears. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Romeo and Juliet Oct. 24 2003
Format:Audio CD
There have been many recordings of excerpts from "Romeo and Juliet," usually taken from the orchestral suites that Prokofiev himself prepared for concert performances. The composer even conducted the Moscow Philharmonic in a 1938 recording of the second suite from this ballet. Prokofiev had indeed spent many years on the score and, like other Soviet composers, had to contend with the shifting moods of Josef Stalin and his comrades. Yet Prokofiev produced a masterpiece and, even in small excerpts, it is apparent that he composed some of his loveliest, most sensitive melodies, as well as some very turbulent sections depicting that fighting and feuding between the Montagues and the Capulets. More than any composer he managed to capture the full story of "Romeo and Juliet" in a wordless orchestral work that still amazes us today.
Michael Tilson Thomas, in his debut recording with the San Francisco Symphony for RCA Victor, has taken the "best" of the massive score and managed to give us a better idea of what Prokofiev accomplished, without us having to listen to the full ballet score. This works better perhaps for simply listening, when one can't see the dances and pantomimes of the staged ballet. It is certainly more manageable, too, for listening.
The orchestra plays wonderfully throughout the recording, displaying the greatest maturity ever witnessed in the orchestra's history. Certainly, the San Francisco Symphony has come a long ways since its humble beginnings in 1911 under Henry Hadley in the Cort Theater.
The recording has the advantage of the now excellent acoustics of Louise Davies Symphony Hall, which has been its home since September 1980. There were initially some acoustical problems, which were finally resolved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular in Every Way Jan. 17 2000
Format:Audio CD
This relatively new release from BMG/RCA is a CD that you simply MUST buy. Run, don't walk, to the order button here at Amazon.com and buy this one! The packaging is bit over the top, I'll grant you that, but this is one serious release of one of Prokofiev's most beloved scores. Instead of playing an amalgomation of one or both of the suites which Prokofiev extracted from the complete score, MTT has created his own 'suite' from scratch. Many scenes from the ballet which are not included in the two original suites are heard here - and to great effect - one more reason to buy. The recorded sound is nothing less than spectacular. There is amazing detail and sonic placement on the aural soundstage. Last, and certainly not least, is the beyond world-class playing of the San Francisco Symphony and the superb musical leadership of Michael Tilson Thomas. This orchestra (in case you haven't heard them lately) is the envy of any city in the world (yes even Berlin and Vienna, in certain repertoire). The brass are bold and incisive, with an especially powerful (yet tasteful) low brass section. The strings are incandescent in the Death of Juliet, and swashbuckling and fleet in the Death of Tybalt. This all adds up to a recording which can't be missed, and shouldn't be passed up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It all starts here with this recording.... Jan. 10 2003
Format:Audio CD
I'll try to be more brief than I was with my last review of Mahler 1, but there are so many things to write about! I'll sum it up: Power, beauty, intense emotion and involvement in the music, and the most tastefully dramatic R+J recording out there. The strings are tight at the prestos, the woodwinds dance right of the CD, the interchanging trumpet and clarinet lines in the Dance of the Madalins are seemless, the horns are impossibly big and bold, bolder than the horns of the old CSO days (which, to me seemed more crass than anything), and the low brass, with the fantastic three and Floydd Cooley play all their lines just right and with some flaming sword of power. MTT's baton stirs the savage beast yet again! This CD is one of my top 10 CDs I own in my Classical collection and I highly recommend it to condutors, performers, and those who are interested in classical music and those who use it as ambiance (though it will be hard not to listen to this work!)!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing vision April 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
Michael Tilson Thomas is truly one of the great living conductors. The things he has been doing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for a decade now have been wonderful. This is one of the conductor's earliest collaborations with RCA Victor in selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. Although other reviews have summed up most of my feelings on this CD, I do just want to emphasize MTT's musical vision in creating his own suite. The performance is incisive, dramatic, forceful, and thoroughly pleasing. As always, the SFSO plays with totally conviction and total faith in their music director. As one of the leading Russian experts of today, MTT has created here a fantastic disc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars my very favorite classical CD Aug. 16 2001
Format:Audio CD
I was so thrilled to find a more complete recording of Romeo & Juliet; I wanted more than the usual Suite. The selections are perfect -- comprehensive & varied. Young Juliet, Young Romeo, and Nurse are real Prokofiev treats, and the Danse with Mandolins is just wonderful. Interpretation is flawless. The sweeping waves of the final love scene move me every time -- thank you gorgeous trombones! Thank you Mr. Thomas!
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