Author Topic: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon  (Read 115704 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1420 on: September 06, 2016, 09:04:46 PM »
I've been falling in love all over again with Стальной скок (Le pas d’acier).

Certainly an easy thing to do when music is this good. One of my favorite ballets.
“I think that a song, when it works, never mind a piece of long form music, even a song is something that speaks to itself but has a language all of its own, ideally.” - Steve Hackett

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1421 on: January 24, 2017, 05:21:41 AM »
And this picks up just where we left off . . .

[ Cross-Post ]

I haven’t been reporting it, but some time every day for a week my ears have been living with this recording:

Сергей Сергеевич [ Sergei Sergeyevich (Prokofiev) ]
«Стальной скок», соч. 41 [ Le pas d’acier, Opus 41 ] (1925-26)
«Блудный сын», соч. 46 [ L’enfant prodigue, Opus 46 ] (1928-29)
West German Radio Orchestra – Köln
Jurowski


I have long been known here at GMG as a great fan of the Op.64, and that is unchangeable.  But what has changed is, I am come to the opinion that these two earlier ballets, musically, are in no way secondary to R & J.

As for narrative, the parable from the Gospel is as rich as the Shakespeare, in its scale;  the Step, well, so the story is not of the highest plane . . . boy-meets-girl-and-they-find-happiness-doing-their-part-for-the-5-year-plan . . . but what the four-number Suite from the Op.41 misses is many of the tender emotional notes which modulate the Modern Times mechanism which come first to mind.

This may sound a bit on the strange side, but I have been finding Le pas d’acier increasingly subtle with each listening.  (Which comes back to the question of listening to the full ballet rather than the brashness-heavy Suite, a brashness exaggerated, if anything, by the rushed tempi of, e.g., the Järvi recording, which do the music substantial disservice.)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1422 on: January 24, 2017, 05:22:06 AM »
[ Cross-Post ]

Сергей Сергеевич [ Sergei Sergeyevich (Prokofiev) ]
«Стальной скок», симфоническая сюита из балета в 4 частях, соч. 41bis [ Suite from Le pas d’acier, Opus 41bis ] (1926)
SNO
Järvi


(Järvi & I have a bit of a history, so factor that into this tiff, if you like.)

This CD was my first encounter with Le pas d’acier;  I had just read Harlow Robinson’s biography of the composer (and was not yet aware of the degree to which a grain of salt was necessary in reading that bio), and I was keen to hear The Music Itself, even if only the Suite.  This recording was first issued in 1989, so it was fairly fresh when I listened to it in Rochester, NY, lo these long years ago, nor was I yet aware of how mixed Järvi’s Prokofiev recordings were, as he and Chandos were in a rush to get Prokofiev product out for the centenary (1991).

So:  listening to the Suite on this disc (in, I shall guess at this remove in time, 1990) was an epic let-down.  Listening to it again today, I might come close to discerning the why.  The combination of tubby sound, and taking intricately busy music a few clicks too fast, makes for muddle instead of music (you see what I did there).  Especially now, familiar as I am with the Rozhdestvensky & Jurowski recordings of the full ballet, Järvi’s tempi are insensitive, even indecent.  The conductor is showing off, he is showing off the band, too (a fine outfit);  it is only the composer and the music which suffer.

So, you understand that when I write:

This may sound a bit on the strange side, but I have been finding Le pas d’acier increasingly subtle with each listening.

. . . this is a long-term rehabilitation of the piece in my ear, redressing an injustice perpetrated by the Järvi recording.

Good God, this disc is a turkey (only half-kidding).

« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 05:39:39 AM by k a rl h e nn i ng »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1423 on: January 24, 2017, 05:33:56 AM »
Parenthetically, Harlow Robinson remains a fixture in Boston academia, and furnished program notes for the Op.25 in this past weekend’s BSO concerts.  Of course, with the “Classical” Symphony, there is not much damage his prejudices can do  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1424 on: January 24, 2017, 08:13:07 AM »
Parenthetically, Harlow Robinson remains a fixture in Boston academia, and furnished program notes for the Op.25 in this past weekend’s BSO concerts.  Of course, with the “Classical” Symphony, there is not much damage his prejudices can do  8)

As a Russophile, what's your opinion of Richard Taruskin?

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1425 on: May 18, 2017, 04:31:21 AM »
I'm communing with Sergei today; time for all seven symphonies, barring interruptions. Don't call me. Unless there's an emergency (eg: someone has found a recording of his first wife, Leni).



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2292785/How-singer-Lina-Prokofiev-gave-dreams-success-losing-husband-liberty.html

A profoundly touching story, the most color I've read on Lina's ordeal after the composer (one hopes, more out of deer-in-the-headlamps naïveté than genuine caddishness) abandoned her.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1426 on: May 18, 2017, 04:32:10 AM »
As a Russophile, what's your opinion of Richard Taruskin?

Oh, I see I have neglected your question, Ben.  Let me mull.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Prokofiev's Paddy Wagon
« Reply #1427 on: May 18, 2017, 06:11:51 AM »
Oh, I see I have neglected your question, Ben.  Let me mull.

I'm still interested in the answer, so that doesn't count as too late at all!

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