Prokofiev / Romeo and Juliet / Munch – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

More Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Romeo and Juliet / Munch

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Superb Sound on this Victrola pressing, with TRANSPARENCY, spaciousness and low level detail you will not believe. And plenty of Living Stereo COLOR.  

DEMO QUALITY SOUND, if what you’re demonstrating is the three dimensional quality of Living Stereo recordings. Amazing space, depth and width can be heard on this side one. And the music is sublime.

The low level detail in the opening and the amount of ambience heard in the quieter sections is shockingly realistic Yes, the recording is compressed, which led me to think that the entire record was compressed, but that’s not completely true. In some parts it’s quite dynamic. The quiet portions are very quiet; in a couple of places there are just horns playing off in the deep distance, followed by some flutes, and they sound very natural, just as you would hear them in a concert hall.

This record has one quality that sets it apart, and that is a tremendous sense of depth and a wide soundstage. Because some of the music is quiet, and seems to be coming from so far back in the hall, you really get drawn into it, and lose the sense of being in your own living room.

This is the result of transparency and compression, a lovely combination — most of the time. If this record were to be graded on correct tonality and the quality of the instrumental timbre of every instrument, it would be Super Hot (A++)

But the loud passages don’t get as loud as they should, and the whole of the orchestral sound lacks weight and whomp. Still, the strings are rich and textured as would be expected in a good Living Stereo recording.

We call side one A+ to A++.

Side two is not quite as good, we called it A+. It’s richer and fuller and more tubey, but lacks the clarity of freedom from smear of side one. Also it is not as spacious.

Wikipedia’s Entry

In addition to a somewhat standard instrumentation, the ballet also requires the use of the tenor saxophone. This voice adds a unique sound to the orchestra as it is used both in solo and as part of the ensemble. Prokofiev also used the cornet, viola d’amore and mandolins in the ballet, adding an Italianate flavor to the music.

Full instrumentation is as follows:

Woodwinds: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes (2nd doubling on 2nd English horn), English horn, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling on E-flat clarinet), bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, tenor saxophone

Brass: 6 horns, 3 trumpets, cornet, 3 trombones, tuba

Percussion: timpani, snare drum, xylophone, triangle, woodblock, maracas, glockenspiel, tambourine, chime (a’’), cymbals, bass drum

Keyboards: piano, celesta, organ

Strings: 2 mandolins, viola d’amore (or viola), 2 harps, strings

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Scene
Morning Dance
Young Juliet
Masques
Montagues and Capulates
Dance
Friar Laurence

Side Two

Death of a Tybalt
Romeo and Juliet’s Parting
Aubade
Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb; Juliet’s Death