Martha Argerich / Mikhail Pletnev

Prokofiev: Cinderella Suite; Ravel: La Mère l'Oye

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AllMusic Review by

Mikhail Pletnev's has made a transcription for two pianos of excerpts from Prokofiev's Cinderella ballet that is as colorful and rich as the orchestral original, particularly when performed by such amazing pianists as Pletnev and Martha Argerich. The transcription is based not on the orchestral score, but on Prokofiev's own solo piano transcriptions, which means that this version, while obviously denser in textures than the solo piano version, is still transparent and clear in expression. Carefully chosen excerpts contrast moments of quiet lushness, as in the "Introduction" and "Winter," with the Classicism of the Gavotte and the briskness of the Gallop. Pletnev's Finale combines the ball's waltz with the chiming of the clock, an ingenious use of the percussive capabilities of the piano, and the shimmering scales that transport the Prince and Cinderella to fairyland at the end of the ballet. Pletnev and Argerich quite effectively convey the ballet's story and the complex sentiments of the characters and action that Prokofiev puts into the music, from the nattering energy of the "Quarrel" to the swirling waltz and ringing bells of the Finale. You can easily imagine the ballet being performed with this ensemble rather than a full orchestra. The inclusion of Ravel's Mother Goose suite on the disc is a delightful bonus. Again, they wonderfully bring out the color and richness of the music that is hidden within its simple lines. This is a disc for fans of Cinderella as well as those of two piano music.

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