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Sergei Sergeievitch Prokofiev (1891-1953)

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Prokofiev's Music for Children

Prokofiev's Music for Children


Prokofiev:

Winter Bonfire Op. 122

Summer Day, Op. 65

The Ugly Duckling, Op. 18

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67


Penelope Walmsley-Clark (soprano), Oleg & Gabriel Prokofiev (narrators)

The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp

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Prokofiev & Shostakovich: Cello Concertos

Prokofiev & Shostakovich: Cello Concertos


Prokofiev:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 58

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Music for Children, Op. 65 - March

arr. for solo cello by Gregor Piatigorsky

Shostakovich:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi


A thrilling album from Steven Isserlis couples the ground-breaking Prokofiev Cello Concerto from the 1930s with Shostakovich’s eruptive response to it written for Rostropovich in 1959. These seminal works mark the cello’s coming of age, enveloping its trademark rhapsodic lyricism in a newly visceral passion.

Paavo Järvi makes his Hyperion debut, conducting an ebullient Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and providing the ideal foil to Isserlis’s impassioned virtuosity.

“In his fascinating booklet note, Isserlis makes a persuasive case for preferring Prokofiev’s 1938 Concerto in E minor to its radical revision...If the earlier version is no masterpiece...this performance vindicates that preference.” Sunday Times, 29th March 2015

“In the first movement Isserlis conjures some surprising, visceral sounds from his instrument, ratcheting up the tension with a febrile, nervy vibrato up high...The soloist contributes his own lively and individualistic booklet-notes, enhancing the value of a fascinating, I'd say unmissable project.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2015

“Here at last is a recording to persuade sceptics that Prokofiev's Cello Concerto is not just an interesting but rather drab failure...both Isserlis and Jarvi leave their competition standing when it comes to expressive eloquence.” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 *****

“Isserlis wrestles like a cellistic Jacob with a fiendishly difficult and un-rewarding solo part; his victory in the closing bars over his sparring partners, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Paavo Järvi, is the culmination of a struggle both heroic and hard-fought!” David Smith, Presto Classical, 2nd March 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

2nd March 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Concerto Finalist

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Prokofiev - Cello Concerto & Symphony-Concerto

Prokofiev - Cello Concerto & Symphony-Concerto


Prokofiev:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 58

Sinfonia Concertante in E minor for cello & orchestra, Op. 125


The two works recorded here have an interestingly close musical relationship that is belied by their radically different sound-worlds. Prokofiev’s first work for cello and orchestra was abandoned by the composer after an unsuccesful premiere, and the full score remained unpublished for years. However, a rising star barely in his twenties, Mstislav Rostropovich, found a copy with piano accompaniment and impressed the composer with his performance in December 1947. As Rostropovich remembered from their backstage encounter: ‘Prokofiev told me that after listening carefully to the Concerto he had decided to rewrite it. I reminded him of this each time I met him after that, but without success.’ What followed, in fact, was a completely new work—the Sonata for cello and piano Op 119—and the premiere of that, with Rostropovich eloquently partnered by Sviatoslav Richter (a recording survives), finally persuaded the now-ailing composer to the dramatic revision of the original Concerto. The resulting Symphony-Concerto is now acknowledged as one of the composer’s late masterpieces.

The young German virtuoso Alban Gerhardt was the soloist in a performance at the BBC Proms in 2008 that convinced a loudly appreciative audience of the merits of this work.

It has been recorded here with the first verson, Cello Concerto No 1, a work of undeniable importance to scholars and music-lovers alike. Andrew Litton conducts the Bergen Symphony Orchestra in their second disc for Hyperion.

“As with the Fourth Symphony, Prokofiev conceived a major work under one set of cultural assumptions and revised it under another. …experiencing both versions side by side is a revelation - even more disturbing, in many ways, yet also endlessly thought-provoking - as it shows one of the most brilliantly gifted composers in history beset by irreconcilable conflicts between instinct and culture. ...Alban Gerhardt's playing, appropriately spotlit, is top-drawer stuff.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2009

“Whatever conclusions one draws from a direct comparison between the two works, there is little doubt that Alban Gerhardt is equally committed to both. …he performs with consummate authority, pinpointing the vein of anxiety and uncertainty that lies beneath the surface of the Concerto... Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic offer incisive support... In the opening Andante of the Symphony-Concerto, Gerhardt and Litton establish an urgent and intense musical dialogue... Likewise, in the ensuring Allegro giusto both artists resists the temptation to slow down unduly from the glorious warm-hearted melody and deliver the macabre scherzo material with razor-sharp precision and biting wit.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2009 *****

“Matching menace with intense lyricism, these performances of two closely related works are compelling. Alban Gerhardt...can convey the lyrical lines mellifluously and also whet his cutting edge when the composer is at his most acerbic.” The Telegraph, 2nd December 2009 ****

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Prokofiev - Piano Concertos

Prokofiev - Piano Concertos


Prokofiev:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 10

Piano Concerto No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 53

(for the left hand)

Piano Concerto No. 5 in G major, Op. 55


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Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3

Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3


Prokofiev:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26


Prokofiev’s two most popular piano concertos (he wrote five) are here performed by Nikolai Demidenko and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Lazarev. These vibrant recordings from 1995 bristle with youthful virtuosity from composer and soloist alike.

“Demidenko is breathtaking in his virtuosity. The orchestra is with him all the way and so is the Hyperion production team who have, as usual, created the perfect sonic setting” BBC Music Magazine

“A commanding artist whose dazzling technique and virtuosity are never hidden from view” Gramophone Magazine

“Magnificent!” Hi-Fi News

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Prokofiev: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2, Overture on Hebrew Themes

Prokofiev: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2, Overture on Hebrew Themes


Prokofiev:

String Quartet No. 1 in B minor, Op. 50

String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92

Overture on Hebrew Themes, for clarinet, string quartet & piano, Op. 34


David Pettit (piano), Angela Malsbury (clarinet)

The Coull String Quartet

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Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas & Five Melodies

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas & Five Melodies


Prokofiev:

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80

Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35b

Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94a


‘One of the biggest joys of the London concert scene in recent years has been the opening up of the musical world of Alina Ibragimova, a world that seems to know no bounds … here she was partnered by Steven Osborne—a meeting of minds and talents that had that paradoxical effect, common to the best collaborations, of two strongly contrasted individuals speaking with one voice. The First Sonata really let fly … quiet but powerfully sustained in the slow music, a fount of uncorked energy in the more frequent fast sections, Ibragimova dug deep into Prokofiev’s aching heart, profiling the jagged motifs of the Allegro brusco second movement as vividly as she tore into the syncopated rhythms of the battling finale—every phrase stamped with conviction and gravitas’ (Financial Times)

Hyperion is delighted to present a collaboration—an extraordinary force on the concert platform—in its first appearance on record. Alina Ibragimova and Steven Osborne are musicians of searing, uncompromising intelligence and intense feeling.

In his works for the violin, Prokofiev produced some of his most personal and expressive music. Both of his Violin Sonatas were written for David Oistrakh. The First was begun against the backdrop of Stalin’s Great Terror, in 1938, and one senses that he drew his inspiration from the uncharacteristically dark wells of fear, despair and bereavement which were the lot of Prokofiev and his contemporaries. The Violin Sonata No 2 in D major is of a very different character—generally sunny and carefree, though still with occasional fleeting shadows from the dark world of the First Sonata. In its original form it was a Flute Sonata, Op 94, which Prokofiev had completed in 1943. At David Oistrakh’s suggestion and with his assistance, Prokofiev transcribed this Sonata to create the Second Violin Sonata, Op 94bis.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The performances might lack the volcanic lustre found in Ibragimova’s Szymanowski album, but her febrile manner still finds a lively outlet in repertoire stamped with the skittish, the sardonic, the bittersweet and other Prokofiev hallmarks.” The Times, 27th June 2014 ****

“there is always room for performances of the depth of perception and strength of character that Ibragimova and Osborne give...In tandem with the comparative calm of the Second Sonata there is also a vitalising impetus and an apt palette of colour that distinguishes the whole disc.” The Telegraph, 4th July 2014 *****

“They are played here with an intense-feeling virtuosity, Ibragimova equally magnificent in restraint...and when belting out, say, the second movement of [the F minor], as strongly contrasted with its predecessor as the whole sonata is with its successor.” Sunday Times, 6th July 2014

“they bring their interpretation to disc – with the same conviction, clairvoyance and charismatic force as their live rendition. Osborne’s weighty tone is a match for the Russian-born violinist’s no-holds-barred attack.” Financial Times, 19th June 2014 *****

“Two of today’s most impressive soloists unite in pieces both introspective and lyrical, and – particularly the First Sonata – deeply emotional. Musical collaboration at its most intense and thoughtful.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“From the austere opening bars...it's clear that this violin-and-piano duo is capable of the subtlest interplay. Steven Osborne is the lion, or the demon, that needs taming by Alina Ibragimova's fiddler, dancing - sometimes ever so frailly - on the volcano.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

“two enormously contrasting sonatas that could hardly be more different, but it's testament to the musicianship of Ibragimova and Osborne that both works, as well as the Melodies (which are certainly more than just filler material), succeed so well.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 14th July 2014

“These Hyperion stablemates, recording together for the first time, appear on paper a dream team. And so they turn out to be: the earlier sonata astonishing for their unanimity of almost psychotic attack when called for.” Classical Music *****

Presto Disc of the Week

14th July 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - August 2014

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Debussy, Bartók & Prokofiev: Études

Debussy, Bartók & Prokofiev: Études


Bartók:

3 Studies, BB 81, Sz. 72, Op. 18

Debussy:

Études pour piano (12) (complete)

Prokofiev:

Four Etudes, Op. 2


Garrick Ohlsson has an unbeaten reputation as the master of the miniature. In this new recital he presents three sets of Études: the twelve by Claude Debussy (so ferocious in their demands they were shunned even by elite pianists for decades), as well as Prokofiev’s revolutionary opus 2 and a set of three lesser-known works by Bartók. In all Ohlsson excels.

“His powerful technique motors through Prokofiev’s four miniatures with tremendous confidence, relishing their naughty-boy dissonances, and he treats the Lisztian flourishes that occasionally surface in the modernist currents of Bartók’s three pieces with suitable flamboyance. There are some fine moments in the Debussy set, too.” The Guardian, 23rd July 2015 ****

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For Children

For Children

Piano music composed for or about children


Bach, J S:

Prelude in E major, BWV937

Prelude in G minor, BWV930

Bartók:

An evening in the country

Andante

Swineherd's Song

Moderato

Jest

Beethoven:

Für Elise (Bagatelle in A minor, WoO59)

Bizet:

La toupie

Chopin:

Nocturne in C minor Op. post

Daquin:

Le Coucou

Debussy:

Docteur Gradus ad Parnassum (from Children's Corner)

The Little Shepherd (from Children's Corner)

Le petit nègre

Fauré:

Berceuse from Dolly Suite, Op. 56

Jolivet:

Chanson naïve Nos. 1 & 3

Liszt:

Étude Nos. 1 & 2

Magin:

Danse noble

Nostalgie du pays

Chant des moissons

Maticic:

Miniature Variations

Mozart:

Variations (12) on ‘Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman' in C major, K265

Prokofiev:

Waltz, Op. 65 No. 6

Schumann:

Wilder Reiter

Volksliedchen Op. 68/9

Fröhlicher Landmann, Op. 68 No. 10

Tchaikovsky:

Mother, from Album for Children, Op. 39

Valse

Villa-Lobos:

O Polichinelo (from Prole do Bebê, book 1)

A Pobrezinha

Moreninha


Lívia Rév (piano)

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Musorgsky & Prokofiev: Pictures, Sarcasms & Visions

Musorgsky & Prokofiev: Pictures, Sarcasms & Visions


Mussorgsky:

Pictures at an Exhibition (piano version)

Prokofiev:

Sarcasms (5), Op. 17

Visions fugitives, Op. 22


Steven Osborne has become one of the most valuable pianists recording today. His recent complete Rachmaninov Preludes release was critically acclaimed as the greatest modern version since Ashkenazy. Now he turns to further cornerstones of the Russian repertoire in this recording of Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition (a work which has been in Osborne’s concert repertoire for many years), and two sets of Prokofiev’s miniatures.

Musorgsky’s masterpiece is one of the most popular programmatic works of the 19th century. Yet it is also a great pianistic challenge, with the spectacular textures of the climactic movement ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’ requiring the highest technical accomplishments.

David Fanning writes of Prokofiev’s Visions fugitives: ‘Prokofiev supplies snapshots of his most characteristic moods—sometimes grotesque, sometimes incantatory and mystical, sometimes simply poetic, sometimes aggressively assertive, sometimes so delicately poised as to allow the performer and the listener to make up their own minds.’ Osborne’s subtle, yet brilliant use of colour and characterization makes him the ideal performer of this set. Sarcasms—as befits the title—is an experimental, provocative work, performed by Osborne with biting humour.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“resplendently startling, cobwebs blown off...From the beginning you sense Osborne’s dynamism and fresh imagination: I can’t recall when I last heard the introductory Promenade sound so purposeful. But the best jewels reside in the picture segments themselves...the technical challenges of the cycle’s last movements (Catacombs, Great Gate of Kiev and all) bring plenty of virtuoso excitements, vividly captured in the recording.” The Times, 25th January 2013 ****

“He paces Mussorgsky's great suite faultlessly, never forcing anything, but ratcheting up the excitement notch by notch until it's all discharged in a sumptuous account of the final Great Gate of Kiev...Osborne is suitably laconic and severe in the Sarcasms, gentler and more suggestive in the Visions Fugitives; both are beautifully judged.” The Guardian, 31st January 2013 ****

“Osborne strides out with healthy determination in the opening Promenade, and then gives a superb performance that shows how atmospheric Musorgsky’s maverick piano writing can be...Osborne has the sensitivity and inspiration, not to mention the pianistic resources, to bring each of the pictures to life in a way that has palpable perspective and subtle characterisation.” The Telegraph, 1st February 2013 *****

“The great virtue of Osborne’s magisterial performance is that you never miss the orchestral upholstery — he conceives the work in quasi-orchestral terms, lavishing an astounding palette of colour and moods on the various pieces...The experimental Prokofiev pieces, Visions fugitives and Sarcasms, are dazzlingly done.” Sunday Times, 17th February 2013

“Throughout this enthralling and warmly recorded performance, Osborne maximises colour and atmosphere, yet manages to achieve a freshness of approach without recourse to idiosyncratic mannerisms. Every movement is brilliantly characterised as a result of Osborne's imaginative approach to keyboard texture.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013

“Osborne's sensitive, dynamic recording is a joy...He gives us elegantly arched and flowing phrases, an effortless handle on the many virtuosic demands, and a nuanced, sympathetic touch that produces deft, light vivaciousness one moment and firm sobriety the next...In short, the beauty and variety of Mussorgsky's Pictures are presented in all their glory here” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 19th February 2013

“here, once more, is an ideal blend of fidelity to the score, with a subtle and distinctive rather than overbearing musical personality. In the Musorgsky everything is as musicianly as it is technically immaculate....in the more weighty numbers, there is power without brutality so that what so easily degenerates into a mere uproar is so finely graded that you forget the essentially percussive nature of the writing.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013

“Following the piano score while listening to Osborne’s recording, one will see that the pianist meticulously carries out Mussorgsky’s instructions as to tempo, pedalling, and dynamics. However, more than that, he characterizes each of the movements very well, too.” MusicWeb International, 20th May 2013

“his care over the smallest details of phrasing and articulation throughout suggests a highly intelligent, thoughtful interpretation that aims to be more than just a showy series of programmatic events...The range of dynamics Osborne achieves is also really quite something, from the relentless fff of Bydlo to the hushed pianissimo of the catacombs in Con mortuis in lingua mortua.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 21st January 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

21st January 2013

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - March 2013

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