Classic Library - Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet / Tilson Thomas

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Much heralded as the auspicious beginning of a new--and now defunct--recording contract with RCA, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony's Romeo & Juliet remains a stunningly good Prokofiev disc. This particular arrangement (compiled by the conductor) follows the sequence of the ballet, providing more narrative continuity than Prokofiev's three suites. Thomas' vibrant and insightful conducting, employing some highly effective and idiosyncratic rubato in many passages, powerfully enhances the drama's ebb and flow. The Balcony scene fairly flows with passion, while light and breezy pacing enlivens the Folk Dance and the Young Juliet. The intense drive of Romeo's Revenge (augmented by bass drum and tambourine at the climax) also rivets the attention.

Underlying all of this is the exceptionally high-caliber playing of the San Francisco Symphony, with its bracing energy, virtuosity, and rhythmic vitality. RCA's warmly spacious, wide-dynamic recording makes a powerful impression (even if it cannot match Telarc's recent SACD version for spatial realism). Considering that Thomas' arrangement contains virtually all the main thematic material from the ballet (minus Prokofiev's many repetitions), for many listeners this hugely enjoyable (and now mid-price) disc will be the one Romeo & Juliet to have and hold. [6/10/2004]
--Victor Carr Jr,

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 20, 2004

  • Catalog Number: 82876594242

  • UPC: 828765942423

  • Label: Sony

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev

  • Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra