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Symphonies 1 & 5


Price: CDN$ 38.91
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Prokofiev! Feb. 8 2002
By T. Beers - Published on Amazon.com
Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra gave the American premiere of Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony during the Second World War, when the symphony was "hot off the presses." In fact, the recording was made only days after that 1944 premiere and it still sounds spectacular. Yes, the recording is old and scarcely 'hi-fi,' but RCA's engineers achieved a near miracle in getting sound that is still impressive for its solidity and three-dimensional sheen. The performance itself is unbelievably intense and menacing, even ferocious, with the great string section of the BSO singing out as only they could under their greatest music director. The performance of the second suite from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" ballet is in the same league, but the recording of the Classical Symphony isn't. Made when the BSO was on tour at Carnegie Hall, the sound quality is up-close and dry, and the magnificent tonal lustre of the orchestra just doesn't register as it does in the other recordings. Never mind; it's still a very fine performance and the disc itself fully rates 5, maybe 500, stars. Some listeners will avoid this disc because it isn't hi-fi, let alone digital stereo. That's too bad because they are missing something really special: the great Boston Symphony Orchestra at its absolute peak, playing music virtually composed to order for its very special, very beautiful sound. A sound that Serge Koussevitzky invented and brought to perfection in recordings like this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've gone to Heaven without dying Jan. 24 2013
By Arthur Horowitz - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I am ignoring the wonderful performance of the Classical Symphony and Romeo and Juliet excerpts which though superb, can be found in equally compelling contemporary recordings with far better sonic qualities. What is truly amazing is the re issue of the fifth symphony. It has always been my opinion that there are 3 great fifth symphonies written in the twentieth century; those of Mahler, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. (One can make an argument to add Sibelius' fifth, but not really). As a college kid, in 1955 I won a copy of the Koussivitzky Prokofiev Fifth Symphony on an RCA long play taken from the original 78 RPM 1946 recording in a poker game. Wow, what a performance, but in 1955, the era of Mercury Living Presence, RCA Red Seal since 1953, Westminster --by comparison the sound was stifling. I don't know what I did with the original LP recording, but I sure wish I had it back now. However, I have been redeemed, coming across the RCA 1994 Gold Seal recording. Although again not up to snuff sonically by 21st century standards, it is a quantum leap above the LP. My memory though at this point not as sharp as it was in 1955, is sufficiently sharp to know that a sonic miracle has happened. One can appreciate fine orchestral playing-routine these days with recordings by good orchestras, but can you ever hear Koussevitzky's sheer energy and love that produced this recording. It is as if Koussevitzky was the symphony's God Father. Perhaps he was, having allegedly sent the music paper on which to compose the symphony from the United States to Russia during the war. There are many good recordings of his symphony, virtually all sonically better, but all must be measured against this one which thankfully has been preserved. This recording is a must.
5.0 out of 5 stars The "classic" Classical Oct. 1 2014
By James W. Ginn - Published on Amazon.com
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I had the 5th symphony on 78s, then on LP, and now finally on CD in a fine sounding performance. I believe the Koussevitzsky was the first recording made of the 5th symphony and it still sounds first rate on this CD. The "Classical" is the gem of the CD and the Romeo & Juliet a wonderful plus. I am so happy to finally have these excellent and unsurpassed performances on CD at last.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Aug. 6 2000
By Edward Qubain - Published on Amazon.com
This and a Karajan recording are supposed to be the best performances of the 5th, although I don't particularly like the composition. The Romio and Juliet suite is the best I have heard-- nothing I have listened to comes close. It is hard to imagine how it could be improved. The classical symphony is good. Although the recordings are old the sound quality is good enough to enjoy the music.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 23 2014
By Arthur Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
One of the greatest recordings of the Prokofiev Fifth Symphony!

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