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Image Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
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£12.99
Image William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
“My only love sprung from my only hate!”

What if your first true love was someone you’d been told to hate? Ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents, two young people will risk everything to be together.

The most famous story of love at first sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change. Will this spark a revolution, or will division continue to tear through the generations?

£19.99
Image Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
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£25.99
Image Harold in Italy, Romeo and Juliet etc
£12.99
Image Sergey Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
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.

£16.99
Image Romeo And Juliet
One of the most exciting musicians on his instrument to emerge in years, German violist Veit Hertenstein has been invited to the Marlboro Music Festival, the Seiji Ozawa International Music Academy, the Viola Space Festival Tokyo, Menuhin Festival in Gstaad and the Verbier Festival, where he was awarded the 'Henri Louis de la Grange' viola prize. The album includes Veit's own viola adaptation of a selection of Shostakovich's Préludes from Op.34, as well as Vadim Borisovsky's viola arrangement of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. Shostakovich commented that the 'violinistic' sound of Zyganow's adapted Préludes from Op.34 caused him to forget that the work was originally written for solo piano. Veit's arrangement echoes this quality, while also conveying the darker tone colours of the work.

£13.99
Image Tchaikovsky: Juliet And Romeo
Music by: TCHAIKOVSKY
Ballet by: MATS EK
Juliet & Romeo
Royal Swedish Ballet

Romeo and Juliet becomes Juliet & Romeo when world renowned choreographer Mats Ek presents his full-length work to Tchaikovsky's music (excerpts from various of Tchaikovsky´s well-known compositions), with its first performance of the Royal Swedish Ballet at the Royal Opera House.

Recording Date: Stockholm Opera House 2013
Sound format: DVD: PCM Stereo, dts 5.1
Sound format: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo. Dts-HD MA 5.1
Picture: 16:9, HD
Booklet: English/German/French
Total Running Time: 107 Minutes

£28.99
Image Tchaikovsky: Juliet And Romeo
Music by: TCHAIKOVSKY
Ballet by: MATS EK
Juliet & Romeo
Royal Swedish Ballet

Romeo and Juliet becomes Juliet & Romeo when world renowned choreographer Mats Ek presents his full-length work to Tchaikovsky's music (excerpts from various of Tchaikovsky´s well-known compositions), with its first performance of the Royal Swedish Ballet at the Royal Opera House.

Recording Date: Stockholm Opera House 2013
Sound format: DVD: PCM Stereo, dts 5.1
Sound format: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo. Dts-HD MA 5.1
Picture: 16:9, HD
Booklet: English/German/French
Total Running Time: 107 Minutes

£29.99
Image Tchaikovsky: The Seasons | Romeo Juliet | Adagio
Upon the death of Mlle. Boulanger, Naoumoff took over her classes at the summer sessions of the Conservatoire d'Art Americain in Fontainebleau. In 1981, at age 19, he was signed as a composer -- the youngest on their roster -- with the music publisher Schott, Mainz. Naoumoff's reputation as a piano virtuoso dates from 1984 when he substituted without notice for a stricken pianist in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Monte Carlo. That concert earned him the comparisons to Horowitz and Rubinstein, displaying -- as one critic remarked -- the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. In the years since, he is regularly invited by the world's premier orchestras: the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony in Washington, Moscow Symphony, etc...And has collaborated closely with renowned conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Igor Markevitch, Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Eliahu Inbal and others.

The Seasons, Op.37a (pubished with the French title Les Saisons) is a set of twelve short character pieces for solo piano by the Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsk. Each piece is the characteristic of a different month of the year in the northern hemisphere. The work is also sometimes heard in orchestral and other arrangements by other hands. Individual excerpts have always been popular - Barcarolle (June) was enormously popular and appeared in numerous arrangements.

Romeo and Juliet is an orchestral work styled an Overture-Fantasy, and is based on Shakespeare's play of the same name. Tchaikovsky was deeply inspired by Shakespeare and wrote works based on The Tempest and Hamlet as well. Although styled an 'Overture-Fantasy' by the composer, the overall design is a symphonic poem in sonata form with an introduction and an epilogue. The work is based on three main strands of the Shakespeare story.

Adagio Lamentoso is the fourth movement of the Symphony No. 6, Pathétique. Tchaikovski dedicated it to Vladimir "Bob" Davydov, composer's nephew with whom he was in love. The Pathétique has been the subject of a number of theories as to a hidden program. This goes back to the first performance of the work, when fellow composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov asked Tchaikovsky whether there was a program to the new symphony, and Tchaikovsky asserted that there was, but would not divulge it.

£13.99
Image Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
£19.99
Image Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
£24.99
Image Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
£6.99
Image Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, The Three Suit
This unusual recording presents the entirety of Prokofiev’s highlights from his ballet Romeo and Juliet: all three suites are performed, with the twenty movements in the order in which they appear in the ballet. Lasting a little over half the duration of the complete Romeo and Juliet, they preserve the outline of the narrative and together give a full picture of Prokofiev’s gift for bringing characters, scenes and situations to life in music of vivid, striking power: aggressive energy in the fight music, neo-classical elegance in the courtly dances, and above all great lyrical beauty in the music for the two young lovers and the cruel series of events that leads to their tragic demise. All this is brought to us by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra– whose Grieg cycle on BIS was a notable critical success – conducted by its music director Andrew Litton, making his first recording for BIS. 'All the performances on this CD are given with such zest and affection that all possible criticism is swept aside' - Gramophone praising The Bergen Philharmonic on another BIS disc, BISSACD1191 (Grieg: Piano Concerto).

£13.99
Image The Very Best of Tchaikovsky
£12.99
Image Lambert: Romeo Juliet
£13.99
Image PROKOFIEV: Romeo and Juliet
£7.99
Image BJORLING, Jussi: Opera Arias and Duets
£6.99
Image TCHAIKOVSKY: 18.12 Overture / Romeo and Juliet / C
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Capriccio Italien, Op. 45 Romeo and Juliet, FantasyOverture (1880)

Dance of the Tumblers Marche Slave, Op. 31 1812Overture, Op. 49


Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky was born in 1840, the second son,by the second wife, of a mining engineer, manager of a metal works. At home heshowed musical precocity and in 1848 he had his first experience of school inSt Petersburg. Two years later he entered the School of Jurisprudence, where heremained for nine years, later entering the government service. In 1863 heresigned from his position in the Ministry of Justice and became a student atthe newly established Conservatory in St Petersburg, following this withappointment to the staff of the new Conservatory in Moscow. He remained on thestaff of the Moscow Conservatory until 1878, when a pension from a rich widow,Nadezhda von Meck, with whom he corresponded for years but whom he never met,gave him independence to continue a career as a composer. He died when heseemed at the height of his powers, in 1893.


This bald account of the course of Tchaikovsky's lifeignores aspects that caused him a great deal of misery. The departure of hisbeloved governess in 1848 and the death of his mother in 1854 moved him deeply,affecting a nature that had already proved morbidly sensitive and diffident,while an imprudent and short-lived marriage caused him much anxiety.Tchaikovsky was well enough liked by his contemporaries at the School ofJurisprudence and was never one to withdraw from social contact. Nevertheless,as a musician, he was easily depressed by harsh criticism and remainedintensely critical of what he wrote. His death in 1893 has been variouslyexplained as suicide or accident. It was officially attributed to cholera,whether the result of carelessness or a reckless disregard for his own life.


The Italian Capriccio was written in 1880. Tchaikovsky hadstarted the work in Rome, where he spent part of the winter of 1879/1880 withhis brother Modest and the latter's young pupil Kolya. Originally envisaged asan Italian Suite on folk melodies, the work was modelled to some extent onGlinka's Spanish fantasias. The Capriccio opens with a fanfare that echoes thesound that the composer heard every morning in Rome from the barracks next tohis hotel. Four other Italian melodies are used, the last a Neapolitantarantella known as Ciccuzza. The work received its first performance in Moscowin December, 1880, under the direction of Nikolay Rubinstein, director of theMoscow Conservatory.


In 1868 Tchaikovsky had written a symphonic poem Fatum andthis had elicited from Balakirev, in St Petersburg, harsh and detailedcriticism. Balakirev was the self-appointed leader of the group of nationalistcomposers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui, Borodin and Mussorgsky. He had taken overthe direction of the Russian Music Society concerts in St Petersburg after theresignation of their founder, Anton Rubinstein, in 1867. In 1869 Balakirev wasdismissed by the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, and Tchaikovsky gallantlypublished an article deploring this. Tchaikovsky's defence of Balakirev and hisready acceptance of the criticism of Fatum led to the renewal of Balakirev'sinfluence over him, and it was from him that the idea of writing an orchestralwork on the subject of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet came. Balakirev wasalways ready to offer criticism of the music of his contemporaries, but wasequally generous with ideas.


The story of Romeo and Juliet is too well known to needrepetition. Tchaikovsky makes no attempt to follow the events as they occur inShakespeare's play. There is the solemnity of Friar Laurence, whosewell-intentioned intervention is the indirect cause of the tragedy, a themerecreating the traditional enmity of the houses of Montague and Capulet and asensuous melody expressing the love of Romeo and Juliet. The overture is intraditional sonata form, the exposition, with its principal thematic material,followed by a central development and a final recapitulation, in which loveends in death. The original Overture was revised in 1870, on the suggestion ofBalakirev, and underwent further revision in 1880, when it became an OvertureFantasy.


Tchaikovsky's incidental music for the play The Snow Maiden,by Alexander Ostrovsky, was written for the first staging of the work in Moscowin 1873. The fairy tale tells the story of the Snow Maiden, who seeks humanwarmth, only to melt, as Spring comes. The Dance of the Tumblers is part of anentertainment for the Tsar in a work that combined drama, music and ballet.

The Marche Slave was completed early in October 1876, inresponse to a request from Nikolay Rubinstein for a work to be played at aMoscow concert in aid of victims of the Turks in the Balkans, where Montenegroand Serbia had declared war against Turkey, and Russian pro-Slav feelings wererunning high. The original title of the work was the Serbo-Russian March, andTchaikovsky used in it fragments of three Serbian melodies, with a reference tothe Russian Imperial anthem before the reappearance of material of the opening ina final, third section. The anthem appears in fuller form at the climax of amarch that was well calculated to appeal to the patriotic emotions of the day.

About the 1812 Overture Tchaikovsky was diffident,describing it, in a letter to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck, as \Without anyserious merits". The overture was written in response to an official commissionfrom Nikolay Rubinstein, and was to celebrate the opening of the Cathedral ofChrist the Saviour, an event timed to coincide with the Moscow Exhibition ofIndustry and the Arts and the silver jubilee of the Tsar. Since the building ofthe Cathedral was designed to commemorate the events of 1812, when the armiesof Napoleon had been forced to retreat from Moscow, Tchaikovsky chose to makehis overture a graphic description of the conflict, with the French representedby the Marseillaise and Russia by an Orthodox chant and a folk-song, and, infinal victory, by "God save the Tsar". The piece, therefore, aptly honoured aroyal occasion as well as a religious and patriotic one. The inclusion ofcannon in the scoring has made the overture a popular spectacle.


Keith Anderson

"

£7.99
Image GOUNOD: Romeo and Juliet
Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)Romeo et JulietteCharles Gounod, one of the great nineteenth-century mastersof operatic melody, had a huge early success with Faust, based on the dramaticpoem by Goethe, and spent the rest of his career trying to match it. He cameclosest with a work based on a play by another great poet, Shakespeare. Hissetting of Romeo et Juliette was composed in 1865-67 with the help of thelibrettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre, who had served him well with otheroperas including Faust. To make Shakespeare's tragedy suitable for the lyricstage, much of it had to be cut; the result was that the two star-crossedlovers loomed even larger in the opera than they had in the play. Gounod roseto the occasion with a series of marvellous duets for the tenor and soprano whotook the title r?â??les - like other operatic composers who tackled Shakespeare'stext, he could not resist having a final duet in the Tomb Scene, which meantthe story had to be adjusted. Otherwise his librettists stuck reasonablyclosely to the original. The tenor was given much superb declamatory music aswell as a magnificent aria; and the soprano was allotted one of the waltz-songswhich were de rigeur in French opera at the time. This song, the opera's onlyother hit number, unless you count the baritone's Queen Mab song, was a lateaddition; Gounod originally intended Juliette's r?â??le to be more declamatorylike that of Romeo, but found himself with a relatively light soprano, MarieMiolan-Carvalho, for the premi?â?¿re. He therefore capitulated to her request forsomething brilliant in Act I and allowed her to omit her big aria in Act IVScene 1. Since then Juliette has usually been sung by a lyric soprano and sothis aria has generally been cut, as on this recording. The first performancetook place in the The?â?ótre-Lyrique, Paris, on 27th April 1867 and within threemonths the opera had been heard in London with Patti and Mario. By the end ofthe year it had been staged in New York and other major centres. Famousexponents of Juliette have included Melba, Farrar, Heldy, Feraldy, Norena,Say?â?úo, Micheau and Freni, while Romeo has been sung by Jean de Reszke, Ansseau,d'Arkor, Crooks, Thill, Luccioni, Bjorling and Kraus.            Romeoet Juliette was not recorded during the 78rpm era, even though many of thesingers mentioned above made important individual discs, so we must rely onSaturday-matinee broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where itwas a repertoire piece for many years. If we want to hear how it was performedin the heyday of French style, there is only one choice, this broadcast fromthe l934-35 season. Change was in the air at the Metropolitan, as thelong-serving manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza was about to retire, but thestructure he had built up, with its fine chorus and orchestra and its excellentsupporting singers, was still in place. The cast of our Romeo includes onelegendary character singer, the tenor Angelo Bada, who had actually come overfrom Italy with Gatti-Casazza in 1908, and another, the bass Leon Rothier, whohad been at the Met since 1910. One of the protagonists, the illustriousbaritone Giuseppe de Luca, had adorned the Met stage since 1915 (his reward forsuch loyalty was to be disposed of on Gatti's departure, a decision whichdeeply upset him, although he returned for the 1940-41 season). The newgeneration is represented by the mezzo Gladys Swarthout, a dull singer on herstudio records but more sprightly when heard 'live'. What makes this recordingspecial, apart from the still vibrant de Luca and the sonorous Rothier, is thesinging of the tenor and soprano and the superbly stylish conducting. Granted,in an ideal world both Eide Norena and Charles Hackett would be able to'retake' a few notes (better still, they would be recorded at a slightlyyounger age) but there is enough wonderful singing here to make the pulse beatfaster. She characterizes Juliette as a real teenager: her singing is full ofwide-eyed wonder and hope until the tragic denouement. He declaims Romeo'smusic with a beauty of legato tone and an amplitude of phrasing which is rarelyheard today. Their duets are the highlights of the performance, which is as itshould be. In the pit, the masterly Louis Hasselmans knows exactly when toexert control and when to give the singers their heads. Listen to howbeautifully he and the orchestra phrase the opening bars of Act II. The bigmoments are finely handled and the final peroration, though spoilt by the usualcrass applause of the Met audience, is magnificent. An incidental pleasure isthe commentary of Milton Cross, with his inevitable mention of the afternoon'ssponsor.Louis Hasselmans, born in Paris on 15th July 1878 into aprominent musical family of Belgian extraction, made his mark as a cellist,taking a first prize at the Conservatoire in 1893. He was principal of theConcerts Lamoureux and a member of the celebrated Quatuor Capet before turningto conducting. From 1909 to 1911 he was at the Opera-Comique, and again in1919-22, in Montreal in 1911-13 and at the Chicago Civic Opera in 1918-19. Hewas a close friend and colleague of Gabriel Faure. In 1913 he conducted thefirst Paris performance of Penelope and four years later Faure dedicated hisFirst Cello Sonata to him. Hasselmans first conducted at the Met on 20thJanuary 1922 (Faust) and stayed for fifteen seasons, giving 378 performances offourteen French operas including the Met premi?â?¿res of Pelleas et Melisande,L'heure espagnole and Don Quichotte. He died at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 27thDecember 1957.Eide Norena was born Karolina Hansen at Horten, in Norway,on 26th April 1884, and studied with Ellen Gulbranson in Oslo. Having startedas a concert singer in 1904, she made her operatic debut in Oslo in 1907. In1909 she married the actor Egel Naess Eide and began calling herself Kaja Eide.She sang mainly in Oslo and Stockholm before undergoing further studies withRaimund von zur M?â??hlen and belatedly starting an international career as EideNorena. Although her debut r?â??le at La Scala (1924), Covent Garden (1924), theParis Opera (1925) and Chicago (1926) was Gilda in Rigoletto, she became abyword for style in the Franco-Belgian repertoire - from 1928 she lived inParis and was a favourite at the Opera. She had only a few seasons at the Met.She died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 19th November 1968. Norena made beautifulrecords of French and Italian repertoire.Gladys Swarthout was born at Deepwater, Missouri, onChristmas Day 1900 and studied in Chicago, where she made her debut at theCivic Opera in 1924. Her Met debut came on 15th November 1929 as La Cieca in amatinee of La Gioconda and in thirteen seasons she sang 22 r?â??les. Her goodfigure made her an asset in travesty r?â??les and in the 1930s she became apopular film star, renowned as one of America's best-dressed women. Her mostfamous stage r?â??le was Carmen. The last years of her career were affected byheart trouble and in 1954 she retired to Florence, where she died on 7th July1969 at her villa, La Ragnaia.America, land of baritones, has produced few tenors ofquality but Charles Hackett was undoubtedly one of them. Born in Worcester,Massachusetts, on 4th November 1889, he began as a boy alto, studied in Bostonand Florence and started his adult career as a lyric tenor, appearing in Pavia(1915) and Genoa (1916-17). In 1917-18 he was in Buenos Aires and he made hisMet debut in Il barbiere (with de Luca as Figaro) on 31st January 1919, stayinguntil 1921 and returning in 1934 for five more seasons. In between he sang atLa Scala and in Monte Carlo, Paris, London (taking part in Melba's farewellevening, as Romeo to her Juliette in the Balcony Scene) and Chicago. Duringthis time his voice gained a little in power but kept its tone. He retired in1940 and taught at the Juilliard School but died all too soon in New York onNew Year's Day 1942. He made a number of records, not all fe

£12.99
Image Tchaikovsky: Hamlet, Op. 67 / The Tempest, Op. 18
£13.99
Image TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4 / Romeo and Juliet
Russian Festival



Aram Il'yich Khachaturian (1903 - 1978)


Sabre Dance from Gayane



Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin (1833 - 1887)


Overture to Prince Igor



Reyngol'd Moritsevich Gliere (1875 - 1956)


Russian Sailors' Dance



Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804 - 1857)


Overture to Ruslan & Ludmilla


Overture to A Life for the Tsar


Fantasie: Kamarinskaya



Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 - 1908)


Flight of the Bumblebee Russian Easter Overture



It was during the course of the nineteenth century that Russian national consciousness developed, a change in attitude evident in literature, with the great novelists and poets of the period, in the visual arts, which have travelled abroad less satisfactorily, and, above all, in music. Under Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century, Russia had looked to the West, a fact that the geographical choice of capital, St. Petersburg, and the cultural and political life of the time illustrates well enough. In the nineteenth century there were again those who looked West to Germany for a musical model to follow, while others, in particular the so-called Mighty Handful grouped around Balakirev, chose a very different course. The cosmopolitan tendency is clearly seen in the case of Anton Rubinstein, founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, an institution that earned the initial hostility of the nationalists, with their inspired amateurism.



The Mighty Handful, Balakirev, Cesar Cui, Borodin, Musorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, the most Russian of the Russian composers, were inspired by the example of Glinka to attempt the composition of music of national inspiration. Glinka had had some professional training in Germany and Balakirev too was a professional musician. The other later members of the group, however, had, at first, other careers. Cesar Cui remained a professor of military fortification, Borodin was a noted chemist, teaching at the Medico-Surgical Academy, Musorgsky was an army officer and later an alcoholically incompetent civil servant, while Rimsky-Korsakov. started his career as a naval officer. These preoccupations seem to justify Rubinstein's description of the nationalist composers as amateurs, while the enthusiasm of the Five for things Russian seemed to them to justify their criticism of Rubinstein and the Conservatory as in some way un-Russian, a jibe not without anti-semitic implications.



During the course of the century the conservatories established in St. Petersburg and Moscow did provide Russian musicians with the kind of technical proficiency that they needed, enabling later generations to combine sound technical competence with nationalist ideals. Tchaikovsky was among the first students in St. Petersburg, and was later to teach for some ten years at the parallel institution in Moscow. The amateur pioneers, much of whose work was left unfinished, had provided an example and an inspiration. It was left to Rimsky-Korsakov and his young pupil Glazunov to edit and complete compositions undertaken by Borodin and Musorgsky, while Cui, who lived until 1918, turned his attention to miniatures, after years spent as a part-time critic, castigating the works of those he regarded as failing the Russian ideal, including some of the music of Tchaikovsky and most of that of Rubinstein.



Glinka, the oldest of the composers represented in the present Russian festival, was born on his family's estate near Smolensk and brought up at first by his grandmother. His schooling in St. Petersburg brought him into wider contact with Western music and his later career, initially with a government sinecure in the Ministry of Communications,. allowed him to pursue a somewhat irregular course of musical activity as a composer and as a drawing-room performer. Travel to Italy and later to Germany gave him an opportunity to broaden his experience still further, and to acquire, through lessons with Siegfried Dehn in Berlin, some technical competence as a composer.



In 1834, on the death of his father, Glinka returned to Russia, already entertaining thoughts of composing really Russian music. By 1836 he had completed an opera that he had at first called Ivan Susanin, later to be known as A Life for the Tsar. The work, based on historical events of 1612, when the Russian Susanin was instrumental in saving the new Romanov Tsar from the Polish army, established Glinka's reputation as the leading Russian composer of the time. Promoted to the position of Kapelimeister to the Tsar, he proceeded to write a second opera, Ruslan and Ludmilla, based on a poem by Pushkin, a Persian fairy-tale in which the heroine, Ludmilla, is abducted by a wicked dwarf, but is finally rescued by her beloved Ruslan. At its first performance in 1842 the work was not well received, but grew in favour as time went on. The brilliant overture remains a popular concert item.



In 1844 Glinka travelled abroad once again, meeting Berlioz in Paris, where his music was greeted with some enthusiasm, and going on to Spain, where he was able to collect useful melodic material for the later use of himself and others at home. During the course of his stay abroad he wrote the famous orchestral piece Kamarinskaya, which makes use of the simplest of Russian melodies in a remarkably imaginative way and with orchestra that was to serve as a model long after his death in Berlin in 1856. By the next generation of Russian composers Glinka was to be long respected both as a pioneer in Russian musical nationalism and, in any case, for his lasting achievement as a composer.



Rimsky-Korsakov, once he had given up his career as a navel officer to become an inspector of naval bands, became possibly the strongest of first following the example of Glinka and later failing to some extent under the Wagnerian spell, and taught for a number of years at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where his pupils were to include Stravinsky and Prokofiev. It was left to him to tidy up the works left unfinished by Borodin and Musorgsky, both of whom died relatively young, and it was with his pupil Glazunov that he dealt with the former's unfinished opera Prince Igor. The overture, indeed, was once said to have been written out from memory by Glazunov who had once heard Borodin play it through on the piano.



According to his student Dmitry Shostakovich, Glazunov, in his cups, was later to admit that the overture was not written out from memory at all, but simply composed for Borodin, whose application to the task in hand had often been slight.Rimsky-Korsakov's own Russian Easter Overture, written in 1886, avowedly orchestrated in the style of Glinka, is based on liturgical themes, a description that does little justice to the lyricism and excitement of the work, seen rather as a fantasy than a formal overture. Tsar Alexander III, who had little taste for Russian music of this kind, forbade any repetition of the piece in his hearing, after he had heard its first performance. The programme of the work is explained by the inclusion of quotations from Psalm LXVIII and from St. Mark's account of the Passion in the score. The all too well known Flight of the Bumblebee, familiar in many virtuoso arrangements for the most unlikely instruments, has its origin in an interlude in the opera The Legend of Tsar Saltan. A prince, with the magic help of a swan, turns into a bee & seizes the opportunity to sting his two unpleasant and jealous aunts, wh

£7.99
Image Berlioz: Overtures
£6.49
Image Prokofiev/Romeo and Juliet
£7.99
Image A Lover's Gift
£5.99
Image THE BEST OF PROKOFIEV
A new addition to our 'Best of' series features the outstanding series of Prokofiev recordings made with the Ukraine orchestra. It is worth repeating that the composer so frequently referred to as 'Russian', was born in the Ukraine, and anyone who has heard this orchestra play Prokofiev in the concert hall, will have experienced a fervour for the music no other orchestra quite equals.



This burning passion seers through their recording of the Fifth Symphony, and, as the Gramophone magazine says, they play with an \intensity of feeling so often right".



The disc also contains a long extract from the recording of the Third Piano Concerto, part of the award winning cycle of concertos played by Kun Woo Paik. These are performances which Classic CD state, "leave most full-price versions standing".



Prokofiev was a prolific composer, whose style did at one stage undergo a dramatic change. This disc concentrates on his most popular works written during his years living in Moscow, and includes music from the two great ballet scores, Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. The critic in the major UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, comments on "the beauty of sound from the Ukrainian Orchestra" when reviewing Cinderella.

"

£7.99
Image PROKOFIEV: Orchestral Suites
Sergey Prokofiev (1891 - 1953)



Lieutenant Kije (Suite Op. 60)


The Love for Three Oranges (Highlightsfrom Suite Op. 33bis)


Romeo and Juliet (from Suites 1 & 2Op. 64)


Cinderella (Suite No.1 Op. 107)
Sergey Prokofiev was born in 1891 atSontsovka in the Ukraine, the son of a prosperous estate manager. An onlychild, his musical talents were fostered by his mother, a cultured amateurpianist, and he tried his hand at composition at the age of five, later beingtutored at home by the composer Gli?¿re. In 1904, on the advice of Glazunov, hisparents allowed him to enter the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where hecontinued his studies as a pianist and as a composer unti11914, owing more tothe influence of senior fellow-students Asafyev and Myaskovsky than to theolder generation of teachers, represented by Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov.



Even as a student Prokofiev had begun tomake his mark as a composer, arousing enthusiasm and hostility in equalmeasure, and inducing Glazunov, now director of the Conservatory, to walk outof a performance of The Scythian Suite, fearing for his sense ofhearing. During the war he gained exemption from military service by enrollingas an organ student and after the Revolution was given permission to travelabroad, at first to America, taking with him the scores of The Scythian Suite,arranged from a ballet originally commissioned by Dyagilev, the ClassicalSymphony and his first Violin Concerto.



Unlike Stravinsky and Rakhmaninov,Prokofiev had left Russia with official permission and with the idea ofreturning home sooner or later. His stay in the United States of America was atfirst successful. He appeared as a solo pianist and wrote the opera The Lovefor Three Oranges for the Chicago Opera. By 1920, however, he had begun tofind life more difficult and moved to Paris, where he re-established contactwith Dyagilev, for whom he revised The Tale of the Buffoon, a balletsuccessfully mounted in 1921. He spent much of the next sixteen years inFrance, returning from time to time to Russia, where his music was stillacceptable.



In 1936 Prokofiev decided to settle oncemore in his native country, taking up residence in Moscow in time for the firstofficial onslaught on music that did not sort well with the political andsocial aims of the government, aimed in particular at the hitherto successfulopera A Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Shostakovich. Twelveyears later the name of Prokofiev was to be openly joined with that ofShostakovich in an even more explicit condemnation of formalism, withparticular reference now to Prokofiev's opera War and Peace. He died in 1953 onthe same day as Joseph Stalin, and thus never benefited from the subsequentrelaxation in official policy to the arts.



As a composer Prokofiev was prolific. Hisoperas include the remarkable Fiery Angel, first performed in its entirety inParis the year after his death, with ballet-scores in Russia for Romeo andJuliet and Cinderella. The last of his seven symphonies wascompleted in 1952, the year of his unfinished sixth piano concerto. His pianosonatas form an important addition to the repertoire, in addition to his songsand chamber music, film-scores and much else, some works overtly serving thepurposes of the state. In style his music is often astringent in harmony, butwith a characteristically Russian turn of melody and, whatever Shostakovich mayhave thought of it, a certain idiosyncratic gift for orchestration that giveshis instrumental music a particular piquancy.



The well known music for Lieutenant Kijewas written in 1933 for a film, the first of a number of highly successfulfilm-scores that Prokofiev was to write during the next ten years. Directed byAlexander Feinzimmer and based on a story by Yuri Tynyanov, the film is asatire on official stupidity and subservience, set in the time of Tsar Paul,son of Catherine the Great. A clerical error adds a non-existent officer to alist presented to the Tsar, who then singles out this man, Lieutenant Kije, forspecial notice. The officials are too afraid to reveal the true state ofaffairs, and the fictitious lieutenant goes on from honour to honour,interrupted only by temporary disgrace and exile to Siberia, subsequent pardonand promotion to the rank of general. He is finally buried in an empty coffin.

Prokofiev arranged the Suite from Lieutenant Kijee in 1934.



The opera The Love for Three Oranges,is based on a play by the 18th century Venetian writer Carlo Gozzi, originallydesigned as a riposte to his rival Goldoni. Prokofiev wrote his own libretto,based on a Russian version given him by its co-author Vsevolod Meyerhold inPetrograd, and completed the work in 1919. It was first staged, after some twoyears delay, at the Chicago Opera in 1921. The story is of an opera in whichinitial attempts to induce the melancholy Prince to laugh are thwarted by FataMorgana. His first sign of mirth, when the wicked fairy stumbles, leads to hercurse, condemning him to search for three oranges, guarded by a bass giantess.

The oranges are found in a kitchen, taken to the desert and opened to revealinside a beautiful maiden. The first two die of thirst, but the third is savedby timely intervention of the stage audience with a bucket of water. Shebecomes the Prince's bride, although momentarily turned into a rat, before thehappy conclusion of the piece. The present excerpts include the well knownMarch, the Scherzo from the third act and the music for the happy denouement.



The ballet-score Romeo and Juliet

was originally intended for the Leningrad State Academic Theatre, renamed theKirov in 1934, when the projected ballet was rejected, to be taken over byMoscow's Bolshoy but turned down as undanceable by the management in thefollowing year, after the preparation of the piano score. Completed in 1936, itwas first staged in Brno in 1938 and only mounted in Russia by the Kirov Balletin 1940 and by the Bolshoy in 1946. The present recording includes the Act IMadrigal from the first of the three suites that Prokofiev made from the scorefor concert use, and the Dance of the Girls with the Lilies from thethird act, the prelude to the discovery of Juliet, apparently dead on themorning of her wedding.



Cinderella

(Zolushka) was written during the war, between 1940 and 1944, and staged at theBolshoy in 1945. The Kirov, evacuated to Perm in the Urals, had originallyproposed to mount the work, but there were delays, in good part the result ofrestrictions of space in the small provincial theatre then available. In threeacts, the ballet follows the commonly accepted Western European version of thestory of Cinderella, with its comic and grotesque elements exaggerated. Thefirst of the three suites that the composer drew from the score opens with theIntroduction to Act I, followed by the inserted quarrel between the UglySisters, here known as Skinny and Fatty. The Fairy Godmother and Winter Fairybring encouragement and Cinderella goes to the ball. The Waltz and Midnight endthe first act, as Cinderella beats a hasty retreat.



Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra(Kosice)


The East Slovakian town of Kosice boastsa long and distinguished musical tradition, as part of a province that onceprovided Vienna with musicians. The State Philharmonic Orchestra is ofrelatively recent origin and was established in 1968 under the conductorBystrik Rezucha. Subsequent principal conductors have included Stanislav Macuraand Ladislav slovak, the latter succeeded in 1985 by his pupil Richard Zimmer.

The orchestra has to

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Image Tchaikovsky Festival
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture 1812 Overture, Op. 49
Capriccio Italien, Op. 45
Marche Slave, Op. 31

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky was born in 1840, the second son by his second wife of a mining engineer, manager of a metal works. At home he showed musical precocity and in 1848 he had his first experience of school in St. Petersburg. Two years later he entered the School of Jurisprudence, where he remained for nine years, later entering the government service. In 1863 he resigned from his position in the Ministry of Justice and became a student at the newly established Conservatory in St. Petersburg, following this with appointment to the staff of the new Conservatory in Moscow. He remained on the staff of the Moscow Conservatory until 1878, when a pension from a rich widow, with whom he corresponded for years but whom he never met, gave him independence to continue a career as a composer. He died when he seemed at the height of his powers, in 1893.

This bald account of the course of Tchaikovsky's life ignores aspects that caused him a great deal of misery. The departure of his beloved governess in 1848 and the death of his mother in 1854 moved him deeply, affecting a nature that had already proved morbidly sensitive and diffident. Tchaikovsky was well enough liked by his contemporaries at the School of Jurisprudence and was never one to withdraw from social contact. Nevertheless, as a musician, he was easily depressed by harsh criticism and remained intensely critical of what he wrote.

In 1868 Tchaikovsky had written a symphonic poem Fatum and this had elicited from Balakirev, in St. Petersburg, harsh and detailed criticism. Balakirev was the leader of the group of nationalist composers, Rimsky-Korsakov, César Cui, Borodin and Mussorgsky. He had taken over the direction of the Russian Music Society concerts in St. Petersburg after the resignation of their founder, Anton Rubinstein in 1867. In 1869 he was dismissed by the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, and Tchaikovsky gallantly published an article deploring this. Tchaikovsky's defence of Balakirev and his ready acceptance of the criticism of Fatum led to the renewal of Balakirev's influence over him, and it was from him that the idea of writing an orchestral work on the subject of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet came. Balakirev was always ready to offer criticism of the music of his contemporaries, but was equally generous with ideas.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is too well known to need repetition. Tchaikovsky makes no attempt to follow the events as they occur in Shakespeare's play. There is the solemnity of Friar Laurence, whose well-intentioned intervention is the indirect cause of the tragedy, a theme re-creating the traditional enmity of the houses of Montague and Capulet and a sensuous melody expressing the love of Romeo and Juliet. The overture is in traditional sonata-form, the exposition, with its principal thematic material, followed by a central development and a final recapitulation, in which love ends in death. The original Overture was revised in 1870, on the suggestion of Balakirev, and underwent further revision in 1880, when it became an Overture-Fantasy.

About the 1812 Overture Tchaikovsky was diffident, describing it, in a letter to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck, as \without any serious merits". The overture was written in response to an official commission from Nikolay Rubinstein and was to celebrate the opening of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, an event timed to coincide with the Moscow Exhibition of Industry and the Arts and the silver jubilee of the Tsar.

Since the building of the Cathedral was designed to commemorate the events of 1812, when the armies of Napoleon had been forced to retreat from Moscow, Tchaikovsky chose to make his overture a graphic description of the conflict, with the French represented by the Marseillaise and Russia by an Orthodox chant and a folk-song, and, in final victory, by "God save the Tsar".

The piece, therefore, aptly honoured a royal occasion as well as a religious and patriotic one. The inclusion of cannon in the scoring has made the overture a popular spectacle.

The Italian Capriccio was written in 1880. Tchaikovsky had started the work in Rome, where he spent part of the winter of 1879/1880 with his brother Modest and the latter's young pupil Kolya. Originally envisaged as an Italian Suite on folk melodies, the work was modelled to some extent on Glinka's Spanish fantasias. The Capriccio opens with a fanfare that echoes the sound that the composer heard every morning in Rome from the barracks next to his hotel. Four other Italian melodies are used, the last a Neapolitan tarantella known as Ciccuzza. The work received its first performance in Moscow in December, 1880, under the direction of Nikolay Rubinstein.

The Marche Slave, Opus 31, was completed early in October 1876, in response to a request from Nikolay Rubinstein for a work to be played at a Moscow concert in aid of victims of the Turks in the Balkans, where Montenegro and Serbia had declared war against Turkey, and Russian pro-Slav feelings were running high.

The original title of the work was the Serbo-Russian March, and Tchaikovsky used in it fragments of three Serbian melodies, with a reference to the Russian Imperial anthem before the re-appearance of material of the opening in a final, third section. The anthem appears in fuller form at the climax of a march that was well calculated to appeal to the patriotic emotions of the day.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was created by Sir Thomas Beecham three weeks before its first concert, which took place in the Davis Hall, Croydon, on 15th September, 1946. The orchestra was initially associated with the Royal Philharmonic Society and involved in the Society's subscription concert series, later earning for itself the title "Royal", when this association came to an end. Beecham gave his last concert with the orchestra in 1960 and was succeeded by Rudolf Kempe, who became principal conductor on Beecham's death the following year. The orchestra has from the beginning been involved in recording, with a major international reputation supported by foreign tours and by association with conductors and soloists of the greatest distinction.

Adrian Leaper
Adrian Leaper was appointed Assistant Conductor to Stanislaw Skrowaczewski of the Hallé Orchestra in 1986, and has since then enjoyed an increasingly busy career, with engagements at home and throughout Europe. Born in 1953, Adrian Leaper studied at the Royal Academy of Music and was for a number of years co-principal French horn in the Philharmonia Orchestra, before turning his attention exclusively to conducting. He has been closely involved with the Naxos and Marco Polo labels and has been consequently instrumental in introducing elements of English repertoire to Eastern Europe. His numerous recordings include a complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies for Naxos.

"

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Image TCHAIKOVSKY: Fantasias after Shakespeare
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)



Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture


The Tempest, Symphonic Fantasia, Op. 18


Hamlet, Fantasy Overture, Op. 67



Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky was born in 1840, the second son byhis second wife of a mining engineer, manager of a metal works. At home he showed musicalprecocity and in 1848 he had his first experience of school in St. Petersburg. Two yearslater he entered the School of Jurisprudence, where he remained for nine years, laterentering the government service. In 1863 he resigned from his position in the Ministry ofJustice and became a student at the newly established Conservatory in St. Petersburg,following this with appointment to the staff of the new Conservatory in Moscow. Heremained on the staff of the Moscow Conservatory until 1878, when a pension from a richwidow, with whom he corresponded for years but whom he never met, gave him independence tocontinue a career as a composer. He died when he seemed at the height of his powers, in1893.



This bald account of the course of Tchaikovsky's life ignoresaspects that caused him a great deal of misery. The departure of his beloved governess in1848 and the death of his mother in 1854 moved him deeply, affecting a nature that hadalready proved morbidly sensitive and diffident. Tchaikovsky was well enough liked by hiscontemporaries at the School of Jurisprudence and was never one to withdraw from socialcontact. Nevertheless, as a musician, he was easily depressed by harsh criticism andremained intensely critical of what he wrote.



In 1868 Tchaikovsky had written a symphonic poem Fatum and thishad elicited from Balakirev, in St. Petersburg, harsh and detailed criticism. Balakirevwas the leader of the group of nationalist composers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui, Borodinand Mussorgsky. He had taken over the direction of the Russian Music Society concerts inSt. Petersburg after the resignation of their founder, Anton Rubinstein in 1867. In 1869he was dismissed by the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, and Tchaikovsky gallantly publishedan article deploring this. Tchaikovsky's defence of Balakirev and his ready acceptance ofthe criticism of Fatum led to the renewal of Balakirev's influence over him, and it wasfrom him that the idea of writing an orchestral work on the subject of Shakespeare's Romeoand Juliet came. Balakirev was always ready to offer criticism of the music of hiscontemporaries, but was equally generous with ideas.



The story of Romeo andJuliet is too well known to need repetition. Tchaikovsky makes no attempt tofollow the events as they occur in Shakespeare's play. There is the solemnity of FriarLaurence, whose well-intentioned intervention is the indirect cause of the tragedy, atheme re-creating the traditional enmity of the houses of Montague and Capulet and asensuous melody expressing the love of Romeo and Juliet. The overture is in traditionalsonata-form, the exposition, with its principal thematic material, followed by a centraldevelopment and a final recapitulation, in which love ends in death. The original Overturewas revised in 1870, on the suggestion of Balakirev, and underwent further revision in1880, when it became an Overture-Fantasy.



The suggestion for a musical treatment of Shakespeare's play The Tempest came from Vladimir Stasov, mentor of theMighty Handful of nationalist composers to which Tchaikovsky never committed himself. Hewrote the work rapidly, over a period of some eleven days in the autumn of 1873. The firstperformance, under Nikolai Rubinstein, took place on 19th December, 1873, at a RussianMusic Society concert. The programme of The Tempest(Burya), Opus 18, described as a fantasia for orchestra, is derived from Stasovand was printed with the published score: The sea. Ariel, spirit of the air, obeying thewill of the magician Prospero, raises a storm. Wreck of the ship bringing Ferdinand. Theenchanted isle. First timid feelings of love of Miranda and Ferdinand. Ariel, Caliban. Thelovers succumb to their passion. Prospero deprives himself of his magic power and leavesthe island. The sea.



The Fantasy Overture Hamlet isthe third of Tchaikovsky's works based on Shakespeare. It was written in 1888 anddedicated to Grieg, although it might have been suggested by the French actor LucienGuitry, who asked for incidental music for the play for his final benefit performance inSt. Petersburg in 1891. The incidental music eventually included material from the Fantasy Overture, which had its first performance inSt. Petersburg in November 1888. The work was received coolly, while Balakirev, in privatecorrespondence with the composer, objected to the intrusion of Shepherds from Vladimir atone point and what he considered the triviality of the love-theme - Hamlet pays Opheliacompliments and hands her an ice-cream. The overture is scored for a full orchestra withpiccolo, pairs of flutes and oboes, cor anglais, pairs of clarinets and bassoons, fourhorns, cornets, trumpets, trombones and tuba, timpani, a percussion section that includessnare-drum, tamtam, bass drum and cymbals and the usual strings. Its opening is markedLento lugubre, leading to a dramatic Allegro vivace. As in the earlier works based onShakespeare, there is no attempt at a detailed narrative programme, a fact regretted byone critic at least at the first performance.



Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was created by Sir ThomasBeecham three weeks before its first concert, which took place in the Davis Hall, Croydon,on 15th September, 1946. The orchestra was initially associated with the RoyalPhilharmonic Society and involved in the Society's subscription concert series, laterearning for itself the title "Royal", when this association came to an end.

Beecham gave his last concert with the orchestra in 1960 and was succeeded by RudolfKempe, who became principal conductor on Beecham's death the following year. The orchestrahas from the beginning been involved in recording, with a major international reputationsupported by foreign tours and by association with conductors and soloists of the greatestdistinction.



Adrian Leaper


Adrian Leaper was appointed Assistant Conductor to StanislawSkrowaczewski of the Halle Orchestra in 1986, and has since then enjoyed an increasinglybusy career, with engagements at home and throughout Europe. Born in 1953, Adrian Leaperstudied at the Royal Academy of Music and was for a number of years co-principal Frenchhorn in the Philharmonia Orchestra, before turning his attention exclusively toconducting. He has been closely involved with the Naxos and Marco Polo labels and has beenconsequently instrumental in introducing elements of English repertoire to Eastern Europe.

His numerous recordings include a complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies for Naxos, andHavergal Brian's Symphony No.4 ("DasSiegeslied") for Marco Polo.



The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice(PNRSO)


The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice(PNRSO) was founded in 1935 in Warsaw through the initiative of well-known Polishconductor and composer Grzegorz Fitelberg. Under his direction the ensemble worked tillthe outbreak of the World War II. Soon after the war, in March 1945, the orchestra wasresurrected in Katowice by the eminent Polish conductor Witold Rowicki. In 1947 GrzegorzFitelberg returned to Poland and became artistic director of the PNRSO. He was followed bya series of distinguished Polish conductors - Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiezko, Kazimierz Kord,Tadeusz Strugala, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanislaw

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Image BERLIOZ: Romeo et Juliette / Les Troyens a Carthag
BERLIOZ (1803 - 1869)

Romeo and Juliet
The Trojans at Carthage: Prelude & Royal Hunt and Storm

At his best, Berlioz illuminated virtually every element of the Romantic Century: its national pulse and revolutionary ardour; the power of literature and its transformation in music and program; industry , invention, new instruments and sounds of every sort; vivid colour and bold harmonic design tinged with melancholy; and, above all, a sense of the obligations of Genius.

In his opera Les Troyens and symphonic poem Roméo et Juliette, Berlioz demonstrates an astonishing mastery of episode, expression, and impulse. Each is a dramatic realisation of a familiar tale, drawn from Berlioz' powerful grasp of the meta-human personalities within, and each is coloured by the hand of one of the great innovators of orchestration.

Across his career, in overture, song, symphony, and opera, Berlioz was inspired by literary themes and models. Although impelled by Shakespeare, his Romeo and Juliet was in fact made possible by the violinist Nicolà Paganini.

Recounts Berlioz in his Memoirs: \I hit upon the idea of a symphony with choruses, vocal solos, and choral recitatives on the sublime and ever-novel theme of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I wrote in prose all the text intended for the vocal pieces which come between the instrumental sections. Emile Deschamps, with his usual delightful good nature and marvellous facility, set it to verse... Paganini had given me money that I might write music, and write it I did."

It was composed from 20th January to 8th September, 1839, and given three try-outs at the Paris Conservatoire, these on 24th November, 1st and 15th December. Romeo and Juliet at first met bad reviews. One critic described it as "an ill-greased syringe." Berlioz in turn praised the critic as a "toad, swollen with imbecility." Even so, the composer privately acknowledged that "I should have to improve it a great deal." After performances in Berlin, Vienna, and Prague, numerous revisions were made.

It is a difficult score and Berlioz as a conductor recognised this from the first: "To interpret it properly, the artists - conductor, singers, and orchestra - must all be first-rate, and prepared to study it as a new opera is studied in good lyrical theatres... very nearly as though it were to be played by heart. It will, therefore, never be played in London, where the necessary rehearsals are not to be had. In that country, musicians have no time to make music."

Described variously as a choral symphony, symphonic poem, and 'symphonie dramatique', Romeo and Juliet is in seven parts: Introduction; Capulet's House; Balcony Scene; Queen Mab; Funeral Procession; Tomb Scene; and, Finale. Remarkably, the four 'traditional' movements of the nineteenth century symphony are embedded in its Andante malincolico -Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo prestissimo and Allegro agitato sections. In the remaining first, fifth, and seventh movements Berlioz employs solo voices (alto, tenor and bass) and six- part chorus.

Shakespeare's story concerns the Capulets and Montagues, two rival households in fourteenth century Verona. Its romance is that of Juliet for the son of her family's enemy. Forbidden to love openly, the teenagers are married in secret by their confessor, Friar Laurence. Drawn into a street quarrel, Romeo ultimately kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt. Banished from Verona, Romeo arranges a final night with Juliet and thereafter leaves the city. Friar Laurencecontrives with Juliet her feigned death and an ultimate reconciliation between Montague and Capulet. Unaware, Romeo returns to find her motionless in the family tomb. Tragedy follows a ghastly error in presuming her dead, his suicide by poison, and hers by dagger upon awakening to Romeo's dying embrace.

Berlioz' Romeo and Juliet owes its dramatic structure as much to English actor David Garrick (1717-1779) as to Shakespeare. The tomb scene, funeral march, and double chorus oath of reconciliation were adopted from the stage tradition of Garrick, who in turn simply made them up. They appear nowhere in the Folio.

For this recording, Yoav Talmi has chosen six excerpts. The orchestra makes an Introduction, violas naming the dark frantic energy of the town, weighted by grim descending low brass. The chorus enters in Prologue, ending a family celebration and foretelling catastrophe. Berlioz conjures the adolescent charm and over-reacting anguish of Romeo's soul, most naïvely in the solo oboe. The Scène d'amour follows, and here the chorus briefly quotes popular tunes heard at the Capulet celebrations.

Through the fantastic dance and sarcasm of La reine Mab we hear Berlioz' voice at its strongest. Queen Mab descended from Celtic myth. 'Medb' to the Irish and 'Maben' to the Welsh, this character was a deliverer of dreams, equally adroit in mischief and reverie, midwife to the faeries. How does Berlioz' Queen Mab enchant the dreamer? Listen to her rapid mood swings and irregular rhythms, the darting voices, the sudden episodes of alarm and energy. Woodwinds and strings serve Mab's rough humour. Orchestral texture remains light until a strange call in the English horn, luring the dreamer headlong into Mab's empire of insensibility. Rapid fugal replies in the strings change the mood again, and the surprising cry of a French horn alters the spell once more. Timpani and bass drum rumble and, after an unprepared loud climax, the mood veers into a clearing of violas and a brief allusion to its only rival in this strange field, Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream. After an odd, stumbling hesitation, the last of Mab's jokes is told: her spell ends with a harmonic progression which, after all, plays by the rules of the waking world.

In his last and most moving scene, Roméo au tombeau, Berlioz adds to the pain of Romeo our pain in witness of his terrible misjudgment. From a desperate searching in the strings to the choral harmonies of horns and woodwinds in procession, in a return of Romeo's solitary oboe and the lonely waltz which follows, and finally in muted colour and Juliet's own call in the solo clarinet, this work is an astounding feat of musical incarnation.

So too, in very different ways, is his opera Les Troyens. Berlioz in February of 1853 visited Liszt at Weimar, renewing personal and artistic friendship. (Each composer dedicated his Faust to the other.) He discussed an opera on Shakespearean models using the text of Virgil's Aeneid. "For the last three years I have been tormented by the idea of writing a vast opera, of which I should write both words and music... I am resisting the temptation, and trust I shall continue to resist it to the end." Four years later, The Trojans was completed and ready for production.

And what a production it was. Berlioz' memoirs are riddled with contempt for the bureaucrats who demanded cuts, rewrites, and simply risible alterations. In a letter to the Emperor dated 28th March, 1858, Berlioz begged protection from two conductors "who are my enemies".

It was finally produced at the Théâtre-Lyrique in Paris on 4th November, 1863. "The performance was a flawed one, as it could hardly fail to be... it was absurd in some parts and ridiculous in others," wrote Berlioz. Its enormous length, huge orchestra and corps de ballet, tremendous staging and scenery requirements, and chaos among the producers led to fiasco. After opening night, ten more cuts were made.
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Image PROKOFIEV: Romeo and Juliet
Sergey Prokofiev(1891 - 1953)



Romeo and Juliet, Ballet (Highlights)


Cinderella Suite No.1, Op. 107
Sergey Prokofiev was born in 1891 at Sontsovka in the Ukraine,the son of a prosperous estate manager. An only child, his musical talents were fosteredby his mother, a cultured amateur pianist, and he tried his hand at composition at the ageof five, later being tutored at home by the composer Gli?¿re. In 1904, on the advice ofGlazunov, his parents allowed him to enter the St Petersburg Conservatory, where hecontinued his studies as a pianist and as a composer until 1914, owing more to theinfluence of senior fellow-students Asafyev and Myaskovsky than to the older generation ofteachers, represented by Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov.



Even as a student Prokofiev had begun to make his mark as acomposer, arousing enthusiasm and hostility in equal measure, and inducing Glazunov, nowdirector of the Conservatory, to walk out of a performance of The Scythian Suite, fearing for his sense of hearing.

During the war he gained exemption from military service by enrolling as an organ studentand after the Revolution was given permission to travel abroad, at first to America,taking with him the scores of The Scythian Suite, arrangedfrom a ballet originally commissioned by Dyagilev, the Classicalsymphony and his first Violin Concerto.



Unlike Stravinsky and Rachmaninov, Prokofiev had left Russiawith official permission and with the idea of returning home sooner or later. His stay inthe United States of America was at first successful. He appeared as a solo pianist andwrote the opera The Love for Three Oranges forthe Chicago Opera. By 1920, however, he had begun to find life more difficult and moved toParis, where he re-established contact with Dyagilev, for whom he revised The Tale of the Buffoon, a ballet successfullymounted in 1921. He spent much of the next sixteen years in France, returning from time totime to Russia, where his music was still acceptable.



In 1936 Prokofiev decided to settle once more in his nativecountry, taking up residence in Moscow in time for the first official onslaught on musicthat did not sort well with the political and social aims of the government, aimed inparticular at the hitherto successful opera A LadyMacbeth of the Mtsensk Districtby Shostakovich. Twelve years later the name ofProkofiev was to be openly joined with that of Shostakovich in an even more explicitcondemnation of formalism, with particular reference now to Prokofiev's opera War and Peace. He died in 1953 on the same day asJoseph Stalin, and thus never benefited from the subsequent relaxation in official policyto the arts.



As a composer Prokofiev was prolific. His operas include theremarkable Fiery Angel, first performed inits entirety in Paris the year after his death, with ballet-scores in Russia for Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. The last of his seven symphonies wascompleted in 1952, the year of his unfinished sixth piano concerto. His piano sonatas forman important addition to the repertoire, in addition to his songs and chamber music,film-scores and much else, some works overtly serving the purposes of the state. In stylehis music is often astringent in harmony, but with a characteristica1ly Russian turn ofmelody and, whatever Shostakovich may have thought of it, a certain idiosyncratic gift fororchestration that gives his instrumental music a particular piquancy.



The ballet Romeo and Juliet,based on Shakespeare's play, was suggested to Prokofiev during a visit toRussia in 1934 on the suggestion of the stage-director Sergey Radlov, who had staged thefirst Russian performance of The Love for Three Orangesin Leningrad in 1926. Radlov was artistic director of the Leningrad StateAcademic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, which in late 1934 became the Kirov Theatre, afterthe assassination of Sergey Kirov, party secretary in the Leningrad area and later amember of the Politburo. The murder of Kirov brought the beginning of the Great Purge andthere were swift changes in the Leningrad Theatre that led to the rejection of Prokofiev'sproposed ballet, which was then taken up by the Bolshoy in Moscow.



Prokofiev completed the piano score in a relatively short time,occupying himself with the work during the summer months of 1935 spent at Tarussa, whereother members of the Bolshoy Theatre had holiday accommodation. By October he had startedwork on the orchestration, but when he played the music through in Moscow to the dancersthey pronounced it undanceable. More sensibly they insisted that the happy ending thatProkofiev had proposed should be replaced by the original Shakespearean tragic conclusionand the death of the lovers, an episode the composer had at first considered impossible ina ballet.



In the event music from Romeoand Juliet was given concert performance in Russia before the ballet could bestaged there. The first production was, in fact, in the Moravian provincial capital ofBrno in December 1938. Thirteen months later it was danced at the Kirov, with Ulanova asJuliet and Sergeyev as Romeo. The choreography was by Lavrovsky, who annoyed the composerby making changes in the score without previous consultation, a procedure very differentfrom that of the reputedly dictatorial Dyagilev, who had always discussed matters with hiscomposers and choreographers. The Kirov took the production to Moscow, where, in 1946, itbecame part of the Bolshoy repertoire.



The three suites that Prokofiev arranged from the completeballet do not follow the order of events in the tragedy itself. The present recordingmakes use of excerpts from the suites of what is, after all, a very episodic ballet,re-ordered as far as possible in the original dramatic form. This opens with Romeo at thefountain, taken from the Introduction and the second number of the complete, ballet score.

This is followed by the introduction of Tybalt, a Capulet and sworn enemy to Romeo and theMontagues. The Morning Dance from Act Ifollows. The young heroine Juliet is shown in an ante-room in the Capulet house, with hernurse, an amiable busybody. The Capulet's guests arrive at the ball to the sound of aMinuet, proceeding to the Masks, and the intrusion of Romeo and his friends, enemies ofthe house in their endless feuding. The episode generally known as Montagues and Capuletsis the Prince's Order and the Dance of the Knights at the Capulet ball, where Juliet,dancing with her betrothed , Paris, first sees her Romeo. The famous Balcony Scene, in which Romeo declares himself toJuliet, and the Love Dance follow thedeparture of the guests. When Mercutio, Romeo's friend and kinsman, is killed, Romeo iscompelled to take revenge by killing the murderer, Juliet's kinsman tybalt, thusprecipitating the final tragedy. Romeo is banished from Verona in this final scene of thesecond act.



In the third act Friar Laurence tries to help the couple and ishere visited by Romeo. The Friar gives Juliet a potion which, if taken, will give theappearance of death. By feigning death she will be able to avoid marriage to Paris, amatch on which her parents insist. The parting of the lovers combines the scene inJuliet's chamber, the farewell itself and an Interlude. In the Epilogue Romeo, who knowsnothing of the plot, returns secretly from banishment and finds Juliet seemingly dead andlaid in the tomb. The music for Romeo at the tomb of Juliet is that for Juliet's funeralin the complete ballet. In grief he takes his own life and when Juliet revives and findsher lover dead she follows his example, stab

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Image KABALEVSKY: Romeo and Juliet / Colas Breugnon / Co


Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky (1904 - 1987)



Suite from Colas Breugnon, Op. 24a



Suite: The Comedians, Op. 26



Suite: Romeo and Juliet



 



The son of amathematician, Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky was born in St Petersburgin 1904 and was intended by his father for some similar vocation to his own.

Kabalevsky, however, showed considerable artistic promise, whether as pianist,poet or painter. After the Revolution he moved with his family to Moscow, where hecontinued his general education, while studying painting and, at the ScriabinMusical Institute, the piano. It was his interest in this last and his obviousproficiency that led him to reject the course that his father had proposed atthe Engels Sodo-Economic Science Institute in 1922 and he turned instead to thepiano, teaching, playing, like Shostakovich, in cinemas and now beginning tocompose. In 1925 he entered the Moscow Conservatory, resolved to further hisincreasing interest in pedagogical music. Here he studied first with theleading theorist Georgy Catoire and then with Prokofiev's friend and mentor,the composer Myaskovsky. At the same time he became increasingly known for hiswriting on musical subjects, notably in the Association of Contemporary MusicJournal, although he was careful not to distance himself from the much moremusically conservative and politically orientated Russian Association ofProletarian Musicians. While the former espoused progressive forms of musicthat might, nevertheless, fit the principles of Sodalist Realism, the latter favoureda simpler and more popular form of music that the people might understand.



 



In 1932Kabalevsky became involved in the Moscow organization and activities of the nowestablished Union of Soviet Composers that replaced the earlier groupings,although, over the years, the leadership, like that of the Association ofProletarian Musicians, lacked musical credibility , whatever their politicalcorrectness. He worked for the state music publishing house and taughtcomposition at the Moscow Conservatory, while continuing to write a largequantity of music. Although, like others of his generation, he supported thegeneral principles of the Revolution it was not until1940 that he became aCommunist Party member, continuing during the Great Patriotic War to writemusic likely to instil patriotism and help the war effort.



 



Problemsarose for many Soviet composers in 1948. Already in 1936 Shostakovich had beencondemned for his apparently socialist opera A Lady Macbeth of the MtsenskDistrict, stigmatized by Stalin as chaos instead of music. 1948 broughtofficial condemnation of formalism, involving Shostakovich and Prokofiev byname at the head of the list of those proscribed. Kabalevsky succeeded inhaving his own name removed from the list and replaced by that of anothercomposer, although he might well have been to some extent implicated by hisearlier association with the Organization Committee of the Composers' Union, the Orgkomitet,which earned particular criticism. His future compositions, however, provedacceptable and he continued as an educator, composer, administrator and writer,retaining favour with the authorities, while treated with obvious suspicion bydistinguished composers now in a more precarious position. He died in 1987, andwhile due respect is given to his music, there are those who have found anopportunity to speak openly of what they have regarded as a combination ofinsincerity and self- interest, in the very difficult circumstances of the day.




 



Kabalevsky'sopera Colas Breugnon had its first performance in Leningrad in 1938 andwas revised in 1953 and again in 1969. The libretto was based on RomainRolland's novel Le martre de Clamecy, a work that suited the politicalprinciples of Soviet Russia, with its general theme of the unprincipledexploitation of the people by their masters. The overture is a portrait of theprotagonist and the opening Prologue has Breugnon writing an account of hislife. The first ac t is set near Clamecy in Burgundy. Peasantgirls are working in the vineyards. Colas Breugnon, a gifted wood-carver, joinsSelina. They are in love, but Colas Breugnon will not propose. Gifliard,equerry to the Duke, enters and tells him that he will marry Selina. The two menfight, with Colas Breugnon encouraged by the girls, especially by Jacqueline,who is in love with him. A bell is heard, announcing the return of the Duke fromParis, accompaniedby soldiers and guests. An Intermezzo accompanies an exchange betweencitizens and soldiery .In the second scene, set in a meadow near Clamecy, thepeople are assembled to meet the Duke, according to custom. Musicians play,joined by Colas Breugnon. He is noticed by one of the Duke's guests, whoquestions him. He replies lightly and the Duke shows her a fountain carved byColas Breugnon, who is invited to the Duke's castle. Gifliard tells them thatColas is to go to study in Paris. He dances with Selina, who now agreesto marry him.



 



In the secondact Colas is in his workshop, finishing a statue of Selina, helped by anapprentice. Jacqueline comes in and then the Duke, who takes the statue to hiscastle, when Gifliard shows it to him. Brooding, Colas is joined by a drunkenpriest. There is a sound of drum and pipe outside and of children singing the Diesirae, since the soldiers have brought the plague to Clamecy. People plan toleave to escape infection, but Colas Breugnon resolves to stay. The following Intermezzois in the form of a funeral procession. In the next scene Colas has theplague and in a delirium wanders through an abandoned vineyard, seeing visionsof death. He survives, however, even after the priest and his apprentice tellhim that, on the Duke's orders, his workshop and house and all they contain hasbeen burned to the ground leaving only his flute. An Intermezzo follows,as Colas Breugnon limps away along the road.



 



In the nextscene Colas Breugnon meets Jacqueline, now dying, and near Clamecy meetsSelina, recalling past happiness. She reproaches him for not proposing to her.

People warn him against entering Clamecy, which is on fire. In the castle,where Colas Breugnon's carvings have been taken, the Duke asks if the artist isalive and is told by Gifliard that Colas is stirring up the people against him.

He orders all the carvings to be burnt. At this moment Colas Breugnon enters,laughing when he sees the destruction. After another Intermezzo thescene changes to a procession to celebrate the town's patron saint. The Dukeand his courtiers celebrate the Feast of St Martin and a statue by ColasBreugnon is unveiled, to reveal a representation of the Duke sitting on adonkey. To the amusement of the people, the Duke and his guests withdraw. The Suitefrom the opera is taken by the composer from the first version of the work.




 



TheComedians, a suite for small orchestra, was written in 1940, taken frommusic for the play The Inventor and the Comedian, by the Soviet writerM. Daniel. The Galop enjoys particular popularity in music thatdemonstrates Kabalevsky's light touch with a score that is pure entertainment.



 



A more sombrenote intrudes into the Suite from incidental music for Shakespeare'

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Image Russian Ballet Favourites
Russian BalletFavourites


Gayane was conceived as a ballet in four acts and six scenes. Based, in itsoriginal version, on a libretto by Konstantin Derzhavin, it was first staged inDecember 1942 in Perm, where the Kirov Ballet had been evacuated. Choreographywas by Anasimova and decor by Natan Altman. It was restaged in Leningrad in1945 by the Kirov and in 1957 in another version by the Moscow Bolshoy. Thecomposer was awarded the Stalin Prize for his work in 1943. The ballet wasbased on an earlier work, Happiness, first produced in Yerevan in 1939, andKhachaturian re-used this music for his new score.



The music of Raymonda has proved very much more satisfactory thanthe original ballet. In 1895 the minor novelist and columnist Lydia Pashkovasubmitted her scenario to the director of the Imperial Theatres, IvanVsevolozhsky. After revision this was sent to the veteran choreographer of theImperial ballet, Marius Petipa. The work was eventually staged at the Mar?»inskyTheatre in St Petersburg in January 1898, initially with a benefit performancefor Pierina Legnani, who danced the title r??le. Sergey Legat took the premierdanseur r??le of Jean de Brienne, with Pavel Gerdt in the character r??le ofAbderakhman. Sets were designed by Orest Allegri, Konstantin Ivanov and PetrLambru and costumes by Ekaterina Ofizerova and Ivan Kaffi.



The action of the ballet is set in medieval Hungary. Raymonda isbetrothed to Jean de Brienne, a crusader, who is called away to the wars. Sheis also the object of desire to the Saracen knight Abderakhman, who plans toabduct her. The White Lady (Dame blanche), a guardian spirit of Raymonda'snoble family, appears and prevents the abduction, and Abderakhman is killed incombat by Jean de Brienne. The principal action ends with the second act. Thethird act honours the happy couple, Raymonda and Jean de Brienne, and issometimes offered now as a separate item in ballet programmes. It consists of aseries of divertissements, including the famous Pas classique hongrois.



There have been various re-stagings of Raymonda, either in itsoriginal form, or with a revised scenario and adapted choreography, withversions by Pavlova, Balanchin and Nureyev among others. Dyagilev himself tookfrom it a men's pas de quatre, with Nizhinsky, for his opening season inParis in 1909. However unsatisfactory the narrative and dramatic structure ofthe piece, it remains, in the version of the eighty-year-old Marius Petipa, aclassic of choreography, while its music has its own lasting attractions. Glazunovshared with Tchaikovsky an ability to handle the short forms that balletdemands, within a coherent wider structure. His evocative score for Raymondais immensely colourful, whether in the varied set-pieces of the first act,with its romance, its ghostly apparitions and dance of elves and goblins, or inthe character dances of the exotic second act or in the final celebrations ofthe third.



The ballet Spartacus, the score of which was completed in 1954,deals with the slave rebellion led by the hero of that name against Romandomination. The historical Spartacus himself was Thracian by birth, a shepherdwho became a robber. He was taken prisoner and sold to a trainer of gladiatorsin Capua, but in 73 B.C. he escaped, with other prisoners, and led a rebellionduring the course of which he defeated the Roman armies and caused devastationthroughout Italy. He was eventually defeated by Crassus, a general well knownfor his wealth, and put to death by crucifixion, together with his followers.

It should be added that to Karl Marx Spartacus was the first great proletarianhero, a champion of the people, while the ultimate fate of Crassus, killed in53 B.C. during the course of a campaign that had taken him to Armenia, mighthave had a particular significance for Khachaturian.



As a composer Gli?¿re followed the Russian romantic tradition, somethingthat brought him official praise in 1948 when the music of Prokofiev andShostakovich was condemned. In particular his ballet music proved popular TheRed Poppy, later known, to avoid the connotation of opium, as The RedFlower, satisfied political choreographic demands and became a well knownpart of ballet repertoire from 1926 onwards, while the later ballet TheBronze Horseman, completed in 1949, also retained its place in Sovietrepertoire.



The Red Poppy (Krasni mak), with libretto and original decor by M. Kurilkoand choreography by Lev Lashchilin and Vasily Tikhomikov, was first staged atthe Bolshoy Theatre on 14th June 1927, when Ekaterina Geltser danced Tao-Hoa andAleksey Bulgatov the heroic Captain. Set in a Chinese port, the story of theballet is simply told. The dancer Tao-Hoa falls in love with the captain of aSoviet cargo ship, to whom she gives a red poppy. Li-Shan-Fu, her manager,plots to kill the captain by having her give him poisoned tea, but she refuses.

Later, in a coolie uprising, she saves the life of the captain and is laterkilled in a coolie uprising by a bullet from Li?¡Shan-Fu. She hands a red poppyto a little Chinese girl, as she dies, a sign of love and of freedom. Scope isgiven for divertissements in the second act, a dream-sequence, set in an opiumden. Here Tao-Hoa sees a Golden Buddha, ancient goddesses, butterflies, birdsand flowers.



As a composer Prokofiev was prolific. His operas include the remarkable TheFiery Angel, first performed in its entirety in Paris the year after hisdeath, with ballet?¡-scores in Russia for Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella,after his earlier ballets for Dyagilev. The idea of a ballet on the subjectof Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was suggested to him during a visit toRussia in 1934 by Sergey Radlov, who had staged the first Russian performanceof The Love for Three Oranges in Leningrad in 1926. Radlov was artisticdirector of the Leningrad State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, which inlate 1934 became the Kirov Theatre, after the assassination of Sergey Kirov,party secretary in the Leningrad area and later a member of the Politburo. Themurder of Kirov in 1934 brought the beginning of the Great Purge and there wereswift changes in the Leningrad Theatre that led to the rejection of Prokofiev'sproposed ballet, which was then taken up by the Bolshoy in Moscow.



Prokofiev completed the piano score in a relatively short time,occupying himself with the work during the summer months of 1935 spent atTarussa, where other members of the Bolshoy Theatre had holiday accommodation.

By October he had started work on the orchestration, but when he played themusic through in Moscow to the dancers they pronounced it undanceable. Moresensibly they insisted that the happy ending that Prokofiev and Radlov hadproposed should be replaced by the original Shakespearian ending, the death ofthe lovers, an episode that Prokofiev had at first considered impossible in aballet.



In the event music from Romeo and Juliet was given concertperformance in Russia before the ballet could be staged there. The firstproduction was in December 1938 in Brno, the capital of Moravia. Thirteenmonths later it was danced at the Kirov, with Ulanova as Juliet and Sergeyev asRomeo. The choreography was by Lavrovsky, who annoyed Prokofiev by makingchanges in the score without previous consultation, a procedure very differentfrom that of the reputedly dictatorial Dyagilev, who had always discussedmatters with his composers and choreographers. The Kirov took the production toMoscow, where, in 1946, it became part of the Bolshoy repertoire. The musicprovides themes associated with the principal c

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Image PROKOFIEV: Romeo and Juliet
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"This is a good, clear, well-spoken production by John Dove of one of Shakespeare's most beguiling but least-loved plays."

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The Telegraph

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Shakespeare
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Shakespeare's Globe



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Running time: 167 minutes
Subtitles: EN/DE
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Image Nicola Vaccaj: Giulietta e Romeo
Nicola Vaccaj belonged to the Neapolitan School. He was a pupil of Paisiello and a contemporary of Rossini, whose fame somewhat obscured his own. But he was well enough known and appreciated during his day that an extract from the last Act of his Giulietta e Romeo was chosen as a substitute for the same aria in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi for an 1832 performance. This arrangement remained common practice until the end of the 19th century. It’s hard to believe, therefore, that Vaccaj’s most notable success has been neglected for such a long time, since it is “an opera that could easily hold its own among the better-known works in the bel canto canon. It has a taut plot, with a strong libretto written by Romani, and is full of well-constructed ensemble pieces.” (Operawire)

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Image Nicola Vaccaj: Giulietta e Romeo
Nicola Vaccaj belonged to the Neapolitan School. He was a pupil of Paisiello and a contemporary of Rossini, whose fame somewhat obscured his own. But he was well enough known and appreciated during his day that an extract from the last Act of his Giulietta e Romeo was chosen as a substitute for the same aria in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi for an 1832 performance. This arrangement remained common practice until the end of the 19th century. It’s hard to believe, therefore, that Vaccaj’s most notable success has been neglected for such a long time, since it is “an opera that could easily hold its own among the better-known works in the bel canto canon. It has a taut plot, with a strong libretto written by Romani, and is full of well-constructed ensemble pieces.” (Operawire)

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