Romeo and Juliet Ballet, Op.64:
Suite No.1, Op.64a
Suite No.2, Op.64b
Suite No.3, Op.101
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Recorded in November 2002 and February 2003 in the Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: February 2004
CD No: TELARC CD-80597
Duration: 75 minutes
It’s a good idea to record all three of Prokofiev’s suites from one of his most popular works. It’s not often done, most conductors being content with the first two extractions. Only Armin Jordan (Erato) and, as it happens, Paavo Järvi’s father Neeme (Chandos) have done so (within immediate recall). Of course, conductors can and do make their own selection from the ballet – and usually arrange something in the order of the story; the three suites, when heard straight through, do not quite correspond to the ordering in the complete score, but they offer anyone not requiring the music complete a generous pick of highlights.
Paavo Järvi’s account is excellent in its fastidiousness, heartfelt lyricism and discriminating power. It isn’t the most theatrical or potent available, but the music is well characterised and has plenty of tenderness and dynamism. There’s no doubting too the care and commitment with which the Cincinnati Symphony respond to its recently appointed Music Director; and Järvi’s pinpoint feeling for colour, blend of sonority, and expressive refinement is a pleasure in itself.
There is much to move and thrill here, and the recording is impressive in its judicious mix of space, clarity and impact. All in all, an enjoyable release – both for the bloom of the music-making and Telarc’s technical excellence.