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Cat. No. CHAN 10519 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10519 - Prokofiev: The Queen of Spades/ On Guard for Peace
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Available From: 01 May 2009
In 1936 Prokofiev was commissioned to write the score for Mikhail Rommís film The Queen of Spades. Stalinís directives put an end to the project and the film was never realised; consequently Prokofievís score was left unheard, and in the case of some numbers unorchestrated. In 2007/2008 Michael Berkeley was commissioned to complete the score for a ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, titled Rushes and performed in 2008. This arrangement gave Prokofievís music viable dramatic shape, though independent of the original film plot. The Symphonic Fragments recorded here return to and elaborate further upon the surviving film music material to create an extended suite for the concert hall.

Berkeley describes his work as follows: ĎI think the best phrase is that I have ďarranged and elaboratedĒ what Prokofiev wrote. It has a wonderful energy and rhythm. Yes, of course it has a film-music feel, but it also has this obsessive quality.í

It is coupled here with Prokofievís final politically motivated work, and the last of his choral compositions, the stirring oratorio On Guard for Peace.

“Two very cinematic scores from Prokofiev: one is real movie-music, a realisation by Michael Berkeley of the Russian composer’s unfinished sketches for a film of The Queen of Spades. Crisply performed, it is full of the typically side-stepping harmonies and dry humour you’d expect. The oratorio On Guard for Peace has a ‘big tune’ that hooks into your ear….. there’s an enticingly light touch to the music. The well-drilled non-Russian choir is convincing, the boy soprano’s sweet rich sound is impressive and the dark-voiced Slavic mezzo provides a fabulously throaty narration.”

Emma Baker

Classic FM Magazine - August 2009

“The performance is a good one, and the sound is excellent. As the only recording of Queen of Spades, this is a must for Prokofiev fans”

American Record Guide

“…The performances lack nothing for sheen, professionalism, or spirit, Jarvi is in good form, leading with concentration and fervor … The Royal Scottish National Orchestra  Chorus and Junior Chorus sing with admirable control of dynamics and expressiveness. Niall Docherty does the honours as boy soprano in a thoroughly professional manner.”  
Barry Brenesal


Fanfare - November/December 2009


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