Pianist Stanislav Khristenko has had a flourishing career in the U.S. since his prize-winning performance at the Cleveland International Piano Competition and has been signed to the Steinway & Sons label, a fortunate home for his talent. Steinway has released recordings that try to re-create the golden age of pianism, and Prokofiev's own transcription of music from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75, definitely fills the bill. Prokofiev premiered these pieces in 1937, and it's easy to imagine that Khristenko's readings, clean and sprightly, would have pleased the composer. Prokofiev does not reach for heroic, Lisztian textures, but rather focuses on the tunes and offers small details that suggest the orchestration. Sample the "Mercutio" scene for a taste of Khristenko's feeling for this not-terribly-well known version of the famed ballet. Also fairly rare, are the Ten Pieces for piano, Op. 12, begun in 1906 and written while Prokofiev was still a student. Little essays in Baroque forms, they have an edge that points unmistakably toward the mature Prokofiev. Strong sound engineering from Steinway Hall in New York is another draw here. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75|
|Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 12|