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7 Symphonies/Lieutenant Kije [Box set]

Sergei Prokofiev Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 26.28 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Disc: 1
1. 1. Allegro
2. 2. Larghetto
3. 3. Gavotta: Non Troppo Allegro
4. 4. Finale: Molto Vivace
5. 1. Allegro Moderato
See all 7 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. 1. Allegro Ben Articolato
2. 2. Tema: Andante/Var.I: L'istesso Tempo/Var.II: Allegro Non Troppo/Var.III: Allegro/Var.IV: Larghetto/Var.V: Allegro Con Brio/Var.VI: Allegro Moderato/Tema: Andante Molto, Doppio Movimento
3. 1. Moderato
4. 2. Allegretto - Allegro
5. 3. Andante Espressivo
See all 6 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. 1. Moderato
2. 2. Andante
3. 3. Allegro Agitato
4. 4. Andante Mosso
5. 1. Andante - Allegro Eroico
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. 1. Andante - Andreas Schmidt
2. 2. Allegro Marcato - Andreas Schmidt
3. 3. Adagio - Andreas Schmidt
4. 4. Allegro Giocoso - Andreas Schmidt
5. 1. Kije's Birth - Andreas Schmidt
See all 9 tracks on this disc

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I love this entire set of the Prokofiev symphonies; here, Ozawa is at his strongest.
If "Ala & Lolly" (the Scythian Suite) is a little too baldly imitative of "Le sacre," Prokofiev's second symphony is a marked and mature contrast, displaying a rarefied assimilation of the daring sonic achievements of Prokofiev's fellow expatriate.
The performance here has more weight, and is less blaring, than others I have heard. And even with less blare, the twelve-minute first movement is unrelenting. There is surprising (and always welcome) textural variety. The mechanistic rhythm keeps chugging in such a way that one loses one's breath, just listening; this piece has what deserves to be the most popular ritardando in the literature ... and that is just at the end of the exposition. The development does not present any such temperamental contrast as we noted in the later fifth symphony; yet, the recapitulation is a clear event. If we are prepared to take the sound-world on its own terms, we may just perceive how closely Prokofiev takes a certain Beethoven piano sonata as his two-movement model here.
The bass clarinet and English horn which begin the theme-&-variations movement II are magical; this passage is every bit as mysterious and delicate, as movement I had been "iron and steel," and the contrast is miraculous. I suppose we must weigh movement I on its own merits (and the fine presentation Ozawa gives here must be the result of great affection for, and understanding of, the score) ... but the effect made by the opening of movement II, more than makes up for any shortcomings in the "Allegro ben articolato.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent Oct. 9 2003
Format:Audio CD
Prokofiev was not known mainly as a symphonist, but listening to the Berlin Philharmonic play the entire cycle convinces me that he has not been properly appreciated. The First is of course the most often played, and while a charming pastiche, was merely a youthful warm-up for the works that were to follow. I find the Second to be incredible, a modernist masterpiece. Prokofiev moved toward a more lyrical, romantic style as he matured, but the Second Symphony is one of the great achievements of his earlier period. The Third and Fourth both developed from operas, "The Fiery Angel" and "The Prodigal Son." They are the least successful as symphonies, it seems to me, but are still tremendously enjoyable, especially as played by the BPO. The Fifth and Sixth are generally seen to be Prokofiev's best symphonies, especially the Sixth. I can see why, though if I had to choose two, I would say the Second and Sixth. The Sixth got Prokofiev in trouble, denounced for "formalism," and the Seventh was part of his rehabilitation. It is a lovely piece, but lacking the depth and innovation of earlier works.
This set is magnificent on every level, from performance, to Ozawa's conducting, to DG's beautiful package. The cover photo of steel girders captures the hackneyed notion of "the Soviet composer," and is really only appropriate for the steely constructivism of the Second Symphony, but excellent design nonetheless. There are no plastic jewelcases -- each disc comes in its own sleeve, like a vinyl LP, resting in a box along with the informative booklet. This is a package that this splendid music deserves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Underrated Prokofiev Symphony Cycle Dec 26 2001
By John Kwok TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Much to my amazement, Seiji Ozawa's Prokofiev symphony cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic hasn't earned the critical praise it deserves. These are insightful, vibrant interpretations replete with the Berlin Philharmonic's charismatic warm and brilliant playing. I am very impressed with Ozawa's ability to lead the Berliners in a series of commanding performances of Prokofiev's scores. All of these are memorable, yet the strongest are undoubtedly the 1st, 5th and 7th symphonies. The tempi don't sound sluggish, but instead, tend to be slightly brisk. The warm, rich sound is aided by the fact that most of these recordings were made in the Jesus Christ Kirche studio used by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in many of their classic 1960's and 1970's Deutsche Grammophon recordings. Although this may not be the definitive set of Prokofiev's symphonies, it is nonetheless a collection of admirable performances and one worth acquiring at this price.
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