Prokofiev: On Guard For Peace, Queen Of Spades Suite

Posted by i kadek Mardika on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“…superb performances of lesser-known Prokofiev works. Neeme Järvi understands the drama of Prokofiev's music, as is evident in his celebrated cycle of the symphonies, and here he conducts by some margin the most convincing account of Prokofiev's final choral work, On Guard for Peace.” --BBC Music Magazine

“On Guard for Peace is a product of the darkest days of Stalinist repression and hence complicit with what David Fanning termed 'mass ideological brainwashing'. Under a cloud post-1948, Vocal Prokofiev 868 his first wife interned and his income drastically cut, Prokofiev had no choice but to supply the sort of cantata the regime required, having gone out of his way to nail down an ideologically foolproof text. There are cute kids, emblematic doves and big tunes. Recurring references to the supervisory role of the Leader and Teacher are both explicit and chilling.

Neeme Järvi has a background in the old Soviet bloc and a long track record in conducting Prokofiev's music for Chandos. His approach is urgent and forthright. Bold sound makes his Scottish forces sound as if they too might hail from St Petersburg and the swimming-pool resonance swallows up the flaws. Soloist Irina Tchistjakova, a youngish mezzo of slightly alarming old-school vibrancy, also narrates.

The unexpected pairing is a Royal Ballet commission perpetrated by Michael Berkeley, chiefly from material Prokofiev had intended to underscore a projected Mikhail Romm film of The Queen of Spades. Berkeley's treatment seems diffuse, probably because the best bits had already been recycled by Prokofiev himself, notably in the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony.

Prokofiev fanciers will wonder why an actual ballet score such as On the Dnieper (similarly plotted) or a finished orchestral piece like the Russian Overture could not have been pressed into service instead.” --The Gramophone Classical Music Guide 2010

MP3 320 · 145 MB

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