Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet Suites (2007)

Posted By: peotuvave
Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet Suites (2007)

Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet Suites (2007)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz | Digital Booklet | 607 MB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download - Source: eClassical

Combined, Prokofiev’s three suites from Romeo include about half of the score. Still, most conductors who want to give us a full CD (or even a full LP) of Romeo pick their own extracts from the complete ballet instead of stringing together the suites. That’s probably at least partly because they don’t share Prokofiev’s preferences when it comes to favorite moments—but it’s also because, as written, the suites are organized for musical rather than narrative coherence, and thus provide little sense of the play’s dramatic trajectory. One way around the second of these issues, of course, is to reorder the suites: that’s, for instance, what Mitropoulos does with selections from the more popular First and Second. Here Andrew Litton pushes that idea to its limit, giving us all 20 movements of the three suites “in the order the music appears in the ballet score.”

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Reviews: Once again we have a case where non-musical considerations mitigate what otherwise would be a very admirable effort. Someone involved in this project had the not very bright idea of rearranging Prokofiev’s three Romeo and Juliet Suites in the order that they appear in the original ballet. So instead of the nicely contrasted balance of tempo, mood, and texture that the composer intended, we have the “Folk Dance” followed by the number simply called “Dance”, both light and quick. The last five tracks, all from Act 3, are basically slow, lyrical, and/or sad. And what on earth is the point of placing the music in the order of a non-existent narrative, since fully half of the ballet is necessarily missing? Anyone who has 74-plus minutes to spare and cares about the extent to which Prokofiev’s music follows Shakespeare’s play certainly can listen to the whole thing and get the true picture. Okay, enough of that. It was a dumb idea, and let’s leave it there.

Andrew Litton always plays the late-Romantic and early 20th-century Russian repertoire extremely persuasively. He’s made great recordings of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Shostakovich, and by and large he does Prokofiev quite well too. He’s a bit handicapped by the order of the program, because the best numbers are the lyrical ones: the Balcony Scene and the closing items featuring the lovers parting and the death of Juliet. In the fast and loud music, Litton turns out to be slightly rigid and just a touch sluggish compared to the best versions, particularly in “The Death of Tybalt” and the “Knight’s Dance” (a.k.a Montagues and Capulets). Also, the Bergen orchestra plays well, but without the bravura that we hear coming from the Concertgebouw (Chung), Philadelphia (Muti), the Czech Philharmonic (Supraphon), or (in the complete ballet) Cleveland under Maazel or Boston under Ozawa.

But then, you do get the music from all three suites here, however dementedly it’s arranged, and the engineering is typically splendid in both stereo and SACD formats. The only serious competition, number for number, comes from Järvi on Chandos with the Scottish National Orchestra. Järvi does respect the integrity of each of the suites, but his orchestral execution isn’t superior in any way, and his strengths (the noisy bits) are the exact opposite of Litton’s. So this is good, but it could have been better, and with so much competition in this work I can recommend it primarily to audiophiles who will certainly enjoy BIS’s vibrant sonics and Litton’s textural clarity.


1. Romeo at the Fountain (Suite 3:1)
2. The Street Awakens (Suite 1:2)
3. Morning Dance (Suite 3:2)
4. Juliet as a Young Girl (Suite 2:2)
5. The Nurse (Suite 3:4)
6. Montagues and Capulets (Suite 2:1)
7. Juliet (Suite 3:3)
8. Madrigal (Suite 1:3)
9. Minuet (The Arrival of the Guests) (Suite 1:4)
10. Masks (Suite 1:5)
11. Romeo and Juliet (Balcony Scene) (Suite 1:6)
12. Folk Dance (Suite 1:1)
13. Dance (Suite 2:4)
14. Friar Laurence (Suite 2:3)
15. Death of Tybalt (Suite 1:7)
16. Dawn: Romeo and Juliet Part (Suite 2:5)
17. Aubade (Morning Serenade) (Suite 3:5)
18. Dance of the Girls with Lillies (Suite 2:6)
19. Romeo at Juliet's Tomb (Suite 2:7)
20. The Death of Juliet (Suite 3:6)

foobar2000 1.0.1 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2014-07-27 22:17:21

Analyzed: Bergen Philharmonic; Andrew Litton / Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet - The Three Suites

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
DR12 -16.66 dB -34.94 dB 1:48 1/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Romeo at the Fountain (Suite III: 1)
DR19 -14.88 dB -40.89 dB 1:39 2/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - The Street Awakens (I: 2)
DR13 -6.30 dB -25.41 dB 2:26 3/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Morning Dance (III: 2)
DR16 -18.23 dB -38.85 dB 3:49 4/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Juliet as a Young Girl (II: 2)
DR14 -17.49 dB -36.89 dB 2:14 5/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - The Nurse (III: 4)
DR15 -3.01 dB -25.12 dB 5:34 6/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Montagues and Capulets (II: 1)
DR13 -17.85 dB -37.05 dB 4:17 7/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Juliet (III: 3)
DR12 -18.98 dB -37.75 dB 3:38 8/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Madrigal (I: 3)
DR13 -11.02 dB -30.95 dB 3:04 9/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Minuet (The Arrival of the Guests) (I: 4)
DR16 -13.82 dB -35.30 dB 2:13 10/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Masks (I: 5)
DR14 -11.81 dB -33.67 dB 7:38 11/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Romeo and Juliet (Balcony Scene) (I: 6)
DR15 -11.49 dB -32.26 dB 4:37 12/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Folk Dance (I: 1)
DR13 -16.53 dB -35.02 dB 2:00 13/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Dance (II: 4)
DR12 -17.72 dB -35.30 dB 2:27 14/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Friar Laurence (II: 3)
DR17 -0.01 dB -22.53 dB 4:50 15/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Death of Tybalt (I: 7)
DR13 -10.65 dB -30.92 dB 7:16 16/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Dawn: Romeo and Juliet Part (II: 5)
DR12 -21.46 dB -38.43 dB 2:41 17/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Aubade (Morning Serenade) (III: 5)
DR13 -23.02 dB -42.40 dB 2:10 18/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Dance of the Girls with Lilies (II: 6)
DR15 -3.78 dB -25.54 dB 5:45 19/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb (II: 7)
DR12 -12.72 dB -30.60 dB 4:12 20/20-(Romeo and Juliet) - The Death of Juliet (III: 6)

Number of tracks: 20
Official DR value: DR14

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 24
Bitrate: 1086 kbps
Codec: FLAC

Thanks to the original customer