Maazel: Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet (2 CD, FLAC)
Maazel: Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet (2 CD, FLAC)

Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
Conductor: Lorin Maazel
Composer: Sergey Prokofiev
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks+m3u)
Label: Decca
Size: 586 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Romeo and Juliet, ballet in 4 acts, Op. 64
Composed by Sergey Prokofiev
Performed by Cleveland Orchestra
with David Zauder, Edward Aromond, Daniel Majeske
Conducted by Lorin Maazel

Disc 1:
01. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – 1. Introduction
02. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 2. Romeo
03. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – The street wakens – The quarrel
04. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 5. The quarrel
05. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 6. The fight
06. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – The Duke’s command – Interlude
07. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 9. At the Capulets’ (Preparations for the ball)
08. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 10. The young Juliet
09. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 11. Arrival of the guests
10. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 12. Masks
11. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 13. Dance of the knights
12. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 14. Juliet’s variation
13. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 15. Mercutio
14. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 16. Madrigal
15. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 17. Tybalt recognizes Romeo
16. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – 18. Gavotte
17. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 1 – Balcony scene – Romeo’s variation – Love Dance
18. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 22. Folk dance 3:34 $0.99 Buy Track
19. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 23. Romeo and Mercutio
20. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 24. Dance of the five couples
21. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 25. Dance with mandolins
22. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – The nurse – The nurse and Romeo

Also available:  Denis Matsuev: The Carnegie Hall Concert (APE)

Disc 2:
01. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 28. Romeo at friar Laurence’s
02. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 29. Juliet at friar Laurence’s
03. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – Public merrymaking – Further public festivities
04. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – Meeting of Tybalt and Mercutio – Duel – Death of Mercutio
05. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 2 – 35/36. Romeo decides to avenge Mercutio – Finale
06. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 37/38. Introduction – Romeo and Juliet
07. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 39. Romeo bids Juliet farewell
08. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 40. Nurse
09. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 41. Juliet refuses to marry Paris
10. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 42/43. Juliet alone – Interlude
11. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 44/45. At friar Laurence’s cell – Interlude
12. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 46. Juliet’s room
13. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 47. Juliet alone
14. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 48. Aubade
15. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 49. Dance of the girls with lilies
16. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 3 – 50. At Juliet’s bedside
17. Romeo and Juliet, Op.64 – Act 4 – Juliet’s funeral – Juliet’s death

None of them sound better than this one

This was a highly regarded recording when it was released in 1973. It was the first recording, I believe, that Maazel made after taking over the Cleveland after the death of (legendary) George Szell. The sound is as bright and clear as one could ask for. I have modern digital recordings of various suites from this score. None of them sound better than this one. What more can I say? …beautifully recorded and played with warmth and accuracy.

Love at first sight!…er, audition

After reading the positive reviews here at Amazon, I purchased this recording a short time ago. With mixed feelings about Prokofiev, I thought that at best this ballet would have to grow on me. I was wrong. Within minutes this recording captivated me, and despite having things to do, I sat there for the duration, two hours and twenty minutes, the remote hanging from my hand. Such a beautiful and profound piece of music! And extremely well played and well recorded here. I teach literature, some of Shakespeare’s tragedies among other things, and I thought I had a pretty good feel for tragedy. But Prokofiev has changed the way I understand “Romeo and Juliet” – and by extension all of tragedy. It’s not that I have a different conceptual understanding; it’s more that, with this ballet, Prokofiev exposes the deep emotional contours of tragedy. The oceanic feeling of the balcony scene that ends Act I is particularly compelling in this regard. The philosopher Nietzsche said tragedy was born from the spirit of music. With Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” tragedy, for me at least, is reborn.

So let me chime in with highest possible praise for this remarkable recording. And my thanks to the other reviewers here for their enlightened and persuasive comments.

A Great Performance

Usually, Lorin Maazel’s conducting does little for me. I often find that he doesn’t exhibit the kind of authority that’s needed to conduct an orchestra, he kind of just stands on a podium and “goes through the motions.” Very rarely will you hear an inspiring performance from him. This recording of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” ballet is one of those rare occasions where everything just sounded right for him.

The Cleveland Orchestra play beautifully here. This ballet requires an orchestra’s full attention and dedication. The complete ballet of “Romeo and Juliet” hasn’t been recorded very often. In most cases, it’s performed in suite form. Maazel’s recording is competing against Ozawa, Gergiev (I haven’t heard his version), Ashkenazy (I haven’t heard his version), and Tilson Thomas. Maazel beats Tilson Thomas and Ozawa very easily as in this instance Maazel knew how to bring out more excitement in the score.

As I said, it’s this recording that took me by complete surprise (I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way). Through Maazel, we are treated to this delightful ballet with eyes wide open. Maazel and the Clevelanders nailed this one. Highly recommended.

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