Neeme Järvi

Prokofiev: The Stone Flower; Lieutenant Kijé Suite

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How did Prokofiev feel about his final ballet, The Tale of the Stone Flower? Did he love it like he seemed to have loved Roméo et Juliette and Cinderella, two of his warmest and most tender works? Or did he disdain it like he seemed to have disdained so many of his post-1948 works, works that were composed under the thumb of the Communist Party and under the shadow of his own mortality? No one will probably ever know for certain, but a certain kind of proof -- musical proof -- is provided with every performance. In Neeme Järvi's 1989 recording of the music Prokofiev drew from the work called The Wedding Suite, it sounds like Prokofiev loved The Stone Flower. Or at least Järvi and the Scottish National Orchestra love it: their performance is affectionate and graceful with supple string playing, brilliant brass playing, colorful wind playing, powerful brass playing, and conducting that seems to have lost its heart but not its head to the lyrical emerald-hued beauty of the work. Chandos' recording is up to the best made in the late '80s: atmospheric but detailed. However the composer felt about The Stone Flower, Järvi and the Scots clearly love The Wedding Suite.

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