Based on Shakespeare’s most famous romantic play, Prokofiev’s realisation of Romeo and Juliet as a full-length narrative ballet was audacious in its day. It was written during a period of artistic turmoil under a Soviet regime in which arguments raged over such fundamental aspects as the choice between a happy or a tragic ending. Famous movements such as the Dance of the Knights have helped maintain Romeo and Juliet as Prokofiev’s bestloved stage work. Marin Alsop’s acclaimed cycle of Prokofiev’s Symphonies has been described as ‘an outstanding achievement’ by BBC Music Magazine.
Esbjörn Svensson, the Swedish original who consistently turned crossovers between jazz, pop and classical music into lasting art with EST, would have got around to this orchestral venture himself but for his accidental death in 2008. With its shapely themes, subtle pacing and big climaxes, his popular trio’s music was ideal material, eloquently confirmed here by arranger Hans Ek, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and four star jazz soloists, including brilliant Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala and Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset.
Handel’s 1736 opera 'Atalanta' concluded with a spectacular display of fireworks in its first year of performance; it has only recently been revived for the first time since the 18th century. The fireworks on this live Philharmonia Baroque recording from 2005 are of the vocal variety. The San Francisco Chronicle raved: “Magnificent… the most vibrant, exhilarating stretch of musical showmanship this organization has offered in many a long season.
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and IMG Artists present an exclusive deluxe 8CD box set edition celebrating the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and its century-long national and international tradition. The box offers a unique collection of recordings dating from 1934-1978 with more than 10 hours of music. Here the orchestra plays under legendary names like Arturo Toscanini, Fritz Busch, Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux and Rafael Kubelik, together with their Swedish counterparts Tor Mann, Sixten Ehrling and Herbert Blomstedt.
I’m honored to discuss this CD. I found Fred Ho’s Monkey: Part One a glorious surprise, and this second section of his musical setting for the trickster tale is no disappointment. The ensemble’s personnel has few changes, notably Francis Wong as tenorist; but its spirit remains dramatic, flexible and visionary as Ho achieves tremendous range from trombone, three saxophones (including his own baritone), bass and drums, and several performers on Chinese traditional instruments.
Cimarosa’s opera, which reuses some items from the composer’s Il matrimonio in ballo of 1776, exists in two versions. The first – the holograph manuscript of which is preserved in the Conservatorio di Musica SW. Pietro a Majella, in Naples – was entitled Il credulo and consists of two acts – although the second contains only one scene and a chorus. The second version is in one act and is entitled Il credulo deluso. The manuscript of this version is in London, British Library Add MS. 16001. The one-act version omits a few items, particularly some in Neapolitan dialect.