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Featuring the best reviews from our loyal ClassicsOnline members.
 (12 May – 25 May)

PROKOFIEV, S.: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (Silocea)
(Avie Records: AV2183)

Reviewer: JT80484
Date Reviewed: 05/14/11
PROKOFIEV, S.: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (Silocea)

Prokofiev interpretation has entered its age of enlightenment

This is a very fascinating account of Prokofiev's first 5 sonatas, positioning itself among the very top of what is available on the market.

Alexandra Silocea's approach is rooted in an exceptionally refined musicianship of the highest level. Her playing is characterised by crystal clear articulation, careful phrasing, a broad scope of colours and dynamics. Moreover, she handles the music with a strikingly refreshing rationality. Her Prokofiev is indeed slightly undercooled, avoids undue emotional or temperamental outbursts (knowing Prokofiev's own views she certainly makes an important point here), chooses tempos intelligently and maintains them consistently. The latter is especially conspicuous in places where many other pianists have made us expect accelerating or slowing down (for example, the 4th movement of the 2nd Sonata).

With Alexandra Silocea the spotlight is not on the pianist, but on the music, which she allows to breathe and speak for itself. Prokofiev is freed of the fetters of superfluities and all that remains is the music in classical transparency and in the full glory of all its riches. Prokofiev interpretation has entered its age of enlightenment.

ROSSINI, G.: Opera Arias (Lezhneva)
(Naive: V5221)

Reviewer: asdrubal.e
Date Reviewed: 05/07/11
ROSSINI, G.: Opera Arias (Lezhneva)

Born a young talented

Julia Lezhnova has a soprano voice of great extension (could be cataloged a mezzosoprano lyrical genuinely Rossinian) to the one that combines presence and timbre aristocratic limpid flow, a vocal line and elegant phrasing. Their attacks are spotless, sweets pianissimi and agile in the coloraturas. His voice combines incisiveness typically Slav with the morbid and warm Mediterranean nature. Only in the acute registry in sight began to improve, but only to its young 21 years old it is all an unusual revelation.

I'm sure that the opera lovers will be waiting for their next recording to confirm its safe progress. A disc widely recommended for all the operatic public.

BARTOK, B.: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Song of the Nightingale (Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Beinum) (1955, 1956)
(Naxos Classical Archives: 9.80677)

Reviewer: MS65515
Date Reviewed: 05/06/11
BARTOK, B.: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Song of the Nightingale (Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Beinum) (1955, 1956)

Brilliant bargain Bartok from Beinum

I just got lucky last week (in musical terms) when I stumbled upon a review of a CD I didn't even know existed! When I realised that it was available as a download for only £1.99 I jumped!

The performance is legendary because the chief conductor of the famous Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra (before he died and Haitink took over) was the much underrated Eduard van Beinum, noted for his passionate musicianship and ability to bring out the real core of a work. I have about a dozen recordings of Bartok's "MUSPAC" but this is the most exciting as well as the swiftest, especially in the second movement;  ok, in such atmospheric music modern, stereo sound is always preferable, but to be honest, once you listen to the excellence of the performance you forget about any sound quality issues - the sound is good for 1953, very clear and analytical with a nice bit of reverb thrown in.

If you love this Bartok work as much as I do, you owe it to yourself to bag the bargain of a lifetime I even enjoyed the Stravinsky piece, which I wouldn't normally even bother listening to, so this proves that van Beinum had a kind of magic!

I can't recommend this download highly enough - a real hidden gem!

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