Prokofiev’s great ballet scores for Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella have become firm favourites in both the concert hall and the repertory of ballet companies worldwide – ‘The Montagues and Capulets’ from Romeo and Juliet, for example, features regularly at major sporting events, something Prokofiev probably never envisaged!
The earliest of the ballets featured here is Romeo and Juliet, commissioned in the mid-1930s, soon after Prokofiev returned to the USSR from self-imposed exile. Drawn from the main events of the ballet, the music of Suite No.2 ranges from the grand, formal music of the ball and sounds of a popular holiday to the tragedy and despair of the story’s end, illuminating Prokofiev’s commitment to communicating the depths and intricacies of Shakespeare’s play.
Cinderella followed Romeo and Juliet in the 1940s, with a score of rich and sophisticated music that rewards audiences of adults and children alike. The Suite No.1 features some of the ballet’s best-loved music, including ‘Cinderella’s Waltz’ and the brilliant Mazurka. The Stone Flower was the last of Prokofiev’s Soviet ballets, dating from 1948, and is based on a folk tale from the Urals. Although it will perhaps be the least familiar of the works on this disc, its score contains music of great beauty, with soaring tunes that are as memorable as anything in the two ballet scores that preceded it.
- Recording made in 1997
- Splendid performances by the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Arnold Katz.
- Booklet notes included