>Having only recently dedicated my life to Prokofiev, I shall be adding
>these to my wish lists.
Let me amplify a bit on my hyberbolic(al)ly enthusiastic statement first
(I never know how to make adverbs of some -al adjectives).
For some of us there are some composers to whom we don't particularly
take until we get older. Also I have noticed that in the world of
Mahler lovers, while Shostakovich is just about considered the successor
(something I don't really see), Prokofiev is just about ignored. Be
that all as it may, for some odd reason I have taken to Prokofiev in
a big way very, very recently.
"Which give me an entre to asking if any of you might have heard much of
Gergiev's Prokofiev and would care to share your thoughts on his
This means that my recording collection is still modest and may remain
that way. But of the small collection of the symphonies which I have
gathered, it is so far Rozhdestvensky and Mravinsky alone who have deeply
impressed me. I have not heard the new Gergiev set.
I generally see little reason to collect repeated boxed sets of symphonies.
In the realm of Mahler symphonies I find little in the old boxes of
either Kubelik or Haitink that I like as opposed to individual items
that I have wandered onto.
I actually have only a single boxed set of the Prokofiev symphonies,
that of Weller.
Since the Rozhdetsvensky Prokofiev 6 has never appeared on CD but only
on cassette tape, as I have learned, I cannot comment on it. But I have
found a copy of the Mravinsky performance on Praga which I find overwhelming.
I know that there is a very highly recommended Mravinsky performance on
Urania which I have not found yet.
Seems to me that each work needs an extraordinary performance and therefore
I do not expect to collect the Ozawa and the Jarvi and so forth boxes.
As to the 7th (or P7), I was amazed comparing the Malko, Weller, and
Rozhdestvensky (on Melodiya) performances as to how they each handle the
alleged Stalinist Coda which Prokofiev supposedly asked not be used after
Weller has it as an integral part and proceeds full blaze with it whereas
Malko stops and takes a breath before continuing with it. One can delete
Rozhdestvensky definitely has left it off and the difference is amazing.
I relistened twice to the Rozh mvt. 4 and it is heart-breaking and
devastating in a way that the others are not. This for the symphony
that is often disparaged.
Perhaps the most amazing thing was to find that I had at one time bought
a used copy of the Chant du Monde CD with the Svetlanov Nevsky and
Zdravista, and Rozhdestvensky Semero Ikh ("Seven, they are Seven", the
Akkadian incantation) and that I had forgotten about it. Now I return
to it and find the works so magical and the performances so non-pareil
and that the CD is very rare. OK, I also found that my copy had a big
scratch on it which ruined the Zdravista until I then discovered that
with EAC I could make a more than acceptable copy.
Compare this for example to the English Chorus which Muti uses on his
recording of Ivan Grozniy and I forswear any non-Russian chorus in such
works forever. That is not to say that any Russian chorus will be on
the level of the chorus in the Svetlanov/Rozhdestvensky performances
just noted. It does mean that no non-Russian chorus should even try.
Of course live performances have to cope with reality. On CDs we can
have the best.
To come back to Gergiev, my main experience with him is in the Fiery
Angle DVD and the audio recordings of Three Oranges and Semyon Kotko.
They are all satisfactory but I have nothing to compare them to.
They are my introductions to these fascinating works.
I am unhappy that the CD recordings use what they call "transliterated
Russian" but which is actually an odd mixture of transliteration and
transcription. Would, oh would that they had given Cyrillic or at least
a pure transliteration.
I also have Gergiev's R&J but have not listened in a long time. My
feeling is that he is not extraordinary and I do like extraordinary
Speaking of which and being very desultory, some years ago an e-mate
had uploaded Nina Koshetz's recording of Sadero's Sicilian language song
"Amuri, amuri" (together with six other performances) to an opera list
I had. It was mind boggling and hers was far and away the greatest of
the seven performances which included that of Rosa Ponselle.
Recently I got the Opal set of Mama Koshetz and simultaneously read
in Nice's Prokofiev biography that P. had advised her, since her name
was then Nina Koshitz, that she had to alter it in order not to become
an object of mirth in the USA. It was she who was Fata Morgana in the
Chicago premiere of Three oranges. Profokiev also wrote his six vocalises
for her but she did not record any Prokofiev.