Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 8
Sound Quality: 9
Here’s a useful release if you’re looking to plug a hole in your Prokofiev collection. The Gambler is an effective opera, but the music hasn’t much character away the stage. You can’t say it’s not busy, but the motoric rhythms don’t disguise the lack of effective tunes, or the rather shapeless form of each section. The inconclusive endings don’t help. Still, if you’re curious about the work and don’t have the patience to seek out the complete opera, this collection of Four Portraits and Dénouement will give you more than enough to make up your own mind.
Autumnal Sketch (Op. 8) is a slight, pretty piece lasting a bit more than six minutes, while the suite from Prokofiev’s last and (to some ears) least ballet, The Stone Flower, may start slowly but it quickly turns lively and folksy. This particular arrangement includes the Prologue to the ballet along with sections from the independent Wedding Suite and Gypsy Fantasy, interspersed. The combination is effective and gives a good sense of the complete work.
None of this music has any notable expressive depth, nor does it offer any interpretive challenges (to be honest), but Dima Slobodeniouk and the Lahti Symphony play it all with sensitivity and enthusiasm. They are also very well recorded. In short, if you’re a Prokofiev fan, you can’t go wrong.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: None
- PROKOFIEV, SERGEI:Suites from The Gambler and The Stone Flower; Autumnal Sketch