Following the successful publication on Cappriccio of all Shostakovich’s symphonies on CD, Dmitrij Kitajenko once again collaborates with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln to perform the complete recording of all of Sergey Prokofiev’s seven symphonies. Together they embark on a very challenging project, both in terms of time and level of technical difficulty, a project that demanded huge efforts and potential from the orchestra conductor alike. Prokofiev’s symphonies could not be more varied. They were written at different times throughout the composer’s life and each one individually reflects the pressure of political dictatorship and forced submission to merciless censorship that was prevalent throughout the Soviet-era. On the other hand, the huge energy, the hopes and desires, emotional and social messages conveyed between the lines could not be vanquished even by dictators and censors.
The world premieres of Iolanta and The Nutcracker took place on 18 December 1892 at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. “The execution of both,” wrote the composer to his brother Anatoly the next day, “was magnificent, and that of the ballet perhaps too magnificent – its brilliance made one’s eyes tired.” Gustav Mahler conducted the first performance of the one-act opera outside Russia on 3 January 1893 in Hamburg and also directed the Viennese premiere of Iolanta on 22 March 1900.
"Symp 15: Very good performance. A lot of character in I, darkness in II. III is devilish. IV is very powerful, with chilling final percussion chatterings. Sanderling's stereo SA-CD is very good, but the sound isn't as good; Fedoseev's SA-CD has character, but Kitajenko has better sound and performance." ~sa-cd.net
"Moving, intelligent, and sometimes powerful singing by the bass soloist throughout. Good chorus. Chimes are chillingly reproduced, as are some of the other percussion effects (for instance the woodblock in "In the Store"). Excellent tuba playing in "Fears"." ~sa-cd.net
"Full and rich start. Slight transient noise from left front in first movement, about 3 minutes in. Horns at start of IV lack a little nobility, but otherwise performance is excellent throughout; timpani in IV, starting about 6'20", are thunderous." ~sa-cd.net
"Beautiful, full rich string sound, and great sound overall. I is fantastic. II is slightly slower than I prefer (about 4'30"), but Kitajenko does very well with it, sustaining tension throughout. III is terrific; you can hear and feel the soft percussion toward the end. IV again has a slightly slower basic tempo than usual, but tension is sustained throughout, and the playing responsive." ~sa-cd.net
"Beautiful, full rich string sound, and great sound overall. I is fantastic. II is slightly slower than I prefer (about 4'30"), but Kitajenko does very well with it, sustaining tension throughout. III is terrific; you can hear and feel the soft percussion toward the end. IV again has a slightly slower basic tempo than usual, but tension is sustained throughout, and the playing responsive." ~SA-CD.net
"Icy cold I. II and III are powerful. Rostropovich's recording also has great sound, and perhaps a little more character. Sanderling's stereo SA-CD is a very good performance but no competition sonically." ~SA-CD.net
"Amazing dark, deep, rich string sound. Virtuosic wind playing throughout. Opening Largo slower than usual but intense all the way through. Soft gong strokes toward the end of i are superbly recorded. In all, the best I've heard, easily better than Fedoseev. (Symphony 6)" ~SA-CD.net
"Rapidly shifting moods in I are captured well, and with great power when needed. II is great; the central fugue has never been this clear before, and the percussion at the end is appropriately chilling. III is powerful, and eerie at the end, better than Gergiev's." ~SA-CD.net