Romeo & Juliet: Love Eternal


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Romeo & Juliet: Love Eternal Review

by Stephen Eddins

Naxos' compilation of selections from its catalog of pieces inspired by Romeo and Juliet includes the most famous, Tchaikovsky's Fantasy Overture, and several movements from Prokofiev's ballet, as well as works by Delius, Berlioz, Kabalevsky, and Johan Svendsen. Naxos, a label that is typically scrupulous about the presentation of its releases, includes no mention of who the performers are, which is a serious omission for listeners who like to know who's playing what they're listening to, and a marketing faux-pas, because it doesn't direct the listener who is intrigued by one of the pieces to identify the release from which it was taken. For the listener who is looking simply for a collection of Romantic and post-Romantic orchestral music, that may not be an issue, though, because on that count, the album delivers just what it promises. This is an appealing collection of passionate, sweepingly romantic pieces. The performances by the unnamed conductors and orchestras are for the most part very fine. Delius' "Walk to the Paradise Garden," from A Village Romeo and Juliet, is a little heavy on bombast and weak on poetry. The selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet are especially nicely played, with pungency and a good sense of drama. The real find is Svendsen's obscure but lovely 1876 tone poem, which may not be as melodically memorable as Tchaikovsky's, but which has a similar atmosphere of intense yearning. The sound on each of the tracks is fine.

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