Gianandrea Noseda

Prokofiev: The Stone Flower

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AllMusic Review by

Prokofiev's last ballet, The Stone Flower, is among the composer's final works. It's an engaging piece, hardly more challenging in expressive language than a Tchaikovsky ballet. It is very tuneful, with twenty or more attractive melodies, many recycled from earlier Prokofiev works: the festive No. 7, Round Dance, is borrowed from the two-part film score for Ivan the Terrible; Nos. 14, Katerina and Danilo, and 19, Waltz of the Diamonds, are sourced in Music for Children, for piano, Op. 65, (Nos. 11 and 6, respectively). Prokofiev's orchestration is splashy and colorful, a sense of the exotic often permeating the music: there are Russian and Gypsy dance numbers, and much else with a folkish, often Eastern-flavored character that befits the fairy tale-like plot of the ballet.

Gianandrea Noseda, principal conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and a frequent figure at the Met and Mariinsky Theater, leads the proceedings with a rich lyrical sense here. His tempos tend to be leisurely, but since this ballet's strong point is melody--from the two seemingly ubiquitous big tunes associated with the Mistress of Copper Mountain (No.1), to the livelier, colorful music in Ural Rhapsody (No. 29), and much else--he captures the heart of the score better than anyone on CD, including the once-available Rozhdestvensky. And Noseda's orchestra responds with enthusiasm and commitment: the brass, percussion and xylophone pour on an extra measure of color in Ural Rhapsody and in that wild trio of numbers in the ballet's Third Act--Russian Dance, Gypsy Dance and Severyan's Dance (Nos. 31-33). The strings soar meltingly in the opening pair of melodies mentioned above and in the closing numbers dealing with the reunion of Danilo and Katerina (Nos. 44-46), where the brass join in elegantly to add to the sense of triumph and romance. Chandos' sound is vivid and powerful.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118
1
4:15
2
2:38
3
2:17
4
2:09
5
5:14
6
3:16
7
2:46
8
2:17
9
4:25
10
1:27
11
1:34
12
3:35
13
4:48
14
2:24
15
3:03
16
5:30
17
2:04
18
5:04
19
5:26
20
4:04
21
4:15

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Tale of the Stone Flower, ballet, Op. 118
1
1:57
2
2:15
3
3:02
4
3:49
5
2:02
6
1:26
7
2:28
8
8:40
9
7:03
10
4:13
11
3:14
12
1:47
13
3:57
14
2:06
15
1:06
16
2:05
17
2:10
18
1:42
19
3:06
20
1:33
21
3:28
22
3:26
23
4:16
24
3:07
25
1:31
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