Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kijé Suite (2019)

Prokofiev

Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer

Thierry Fischer

DSD 512 Exclusive

Exclusively Available in Stereo and Multichannel DSD 256, DSD 128 and Stereo 512 at NativeDSD Music!

Reference Recordings is proud to present the Utah Symphony conducted by Thierry Fischer, in grand new performances of Alexander Nevsky and the Lieutenant Kijé Suite, two of Prokofiev’s most brilliant and dramatic musical works.

The music of Lieutenant Kijé was originally written as the score to the film of the same name, released in March 1934. It was Prokofiev’s first film music and his first commission. Prokofiev soon adapted it into the five-movement Lieutenant Kijé Suite, first performed in December 1934, and which quickly became a favorite in the international concert repertoire.

Then, in 1938, Prokofiev collaborated with film director Eisenstein to create the score for the film Alexander Nevsky. He later adapted much of his score into the large-scale cantata for mezzo-soprano, orchestra and chorus featured on this recording.

This release was recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera, and chamber recordings have received more than 100 Grammy nominations and awards. For over 40 years, Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, including Reference Recordings.

This recording was made and post-produced in DSD 64fs on a Pyramix workstation to give you, the listener, the highest quality possible.

"The Soundmirror team are already familiar with capturing, as here, a wonderfully coherent soundstage and rounded ambiance in the generous acoustic of the Maurice Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah where both works were recorded live (18th and 19th November 2016). The multi-channel 5.0 recording, made and post-produced in 64fs DSD, offers a degree of aural realism not to be found in any rival medium, but is shown to particular advantage in large-scale orchestral and choral pieces such as these.

It need hardly be said that as always from Reference Recordings the presentation of this release is first class. The excellent liner notes include – a splendidly informative seven-page essay on both works by Paul Griffiths, an English translation from the Russian of the vocal sections of Alexander Nevsky, as well as a listing of the members of the Utah Symphony and all the other performers involved.

This stunningly recorded album with 60 minutes of compelling music performed with style and verve will almost certainly make it the go-to choice for a modern version of these two works."

Graham Williams, HRAudio.net

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Thierry Fischer

THIERRY FISCHER, Music Director of the Utah Symphony since 2009, has revitalized the orchestra with creative programming and critically acclaimed performances that have drawn consistently full houses. Highlights of his tenure include complete symphony cyclesofMahlerin commemoration of former Utah Symphony Music Director, Maurice Abravanel, complete Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Nielsen cycles, a multi-season Stravinsky and Haydn symphony cycle and a tour of Utah’s five national parks. Mr. Fischer has also initiated a major commissioning program in Utah that has produced new works by Simon Holt, Michael Jarrell, Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas.  Mr. Fisher has guest conducted orchestras as diverse as the Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati and Detroit symphonies, the BBC Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Philharmonia (London), Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Salzburg Mozarteumorchester, and the Scottish and Swedish Chamber orchestras, among others.
Mr. Fischer began his music career as Principal Flute in Hamburg and at the Zurich Opera. He made his conducting debut leading the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2001-06 and Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic from 2008-11 (now the orchestra’s Honorary Guest Conductor), and Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 2006-2012.

Utah Symphony

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in the 2015-16 season, is one of America’s major symphony orchestras and a leading cultural organization in the Intermountain West. It is recognized internationally for its distinctive performances, commitment to music education programs, and recording legacy. Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony became recognized as a leading American ensemble largely through the efforts of Maurice Abravanel, Music Director from 1947 to 1979. During his tenure, the orchestra undertook four international tours, released numerous recordings and developed an extensive music education program.
The Utah Symphony has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, at the Kennedy Center, Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Philharmonie, Schauspielhaus, Gewandhaus, Royal Festival Hall and Teatro Colón. In the 2015-16 season the orchestra returns to Carnegie Hall for a concert in honor of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including most recently the Mighty 5® Tour of Southern Utah’s National Parks, it has embarked on seven international tours.
The orchestra has released more than 100 recordings and has been nominated for Grammy Awards for albums with Maestro Abravanel (Honegger’s Le Roi David, Bloch’s Sacred Service and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms) and Michael Tilson-Thomas (Copland’s Old American Songs). A pioneering cycle of Mahler Symphonies conducted by Abravanel was recorded between 1963 and 1974 and included the first commercial stereo recordings of the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. The recordings also marked the first complete Mahler cycle recorded by an American orchestra.

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Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kijé Suite (2019)

Prokofiev

Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer

    HR Audio.Net -

Discerning collectors are used to releases from the Reference Recordings label receiving effusive plaudits, not only for the high artistic level of the performances but especially for the thrilling audiophile sound quality that brings listening at home to a new level of enjoyment. This latest spectacular recording from Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony of two of Prokofiev’s most popular film-related scores will assuredly continue that trend. In 1938 Prokofiev received a commission to work with the celebrated director Sergei Eisenstein on the music for the film ‘Alexander Nevsky’. The mutual admiration each man had for the other’s artistic endeavours proved to be an ideal collaboration that resulted in one of the greatest film epics of the twentieth century. The film tells the story of the invasion of Russia in the 13th century by crusading Teutonic knights whose cruelty is graphically depicted. Prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod inspires the people of the Pskov region to take up arms against the invaders. They do this in what is the longest and most complex sequence in the film, the famous ‘Battle on the Ice’ that takes place on a frozen Lake Preipus. Nevsky and his forces are victorious and return in triumph to Pskov. Shortly after completion of the film Prokofiev re-arranged and expanded his music into the imposing seven movement dramatic cantata for the concert hall heard on this album. Over more than ten seasons as Musical Director of the Utah Symphony Thierry Fischer has moulded the orchestra into a wonderfully responsive and virtuoso body of musicians as the playing here clearly demonstrates. His tempi throughout are well-judged, closer to Prokofiev’s markings than some versions on disc, and his pacing of the work always displays clear musical and dramatic purpose. The purely orchestral movement ‘Russia under Mongolian Tyranny’ that opens the work is just one example of the sensitive and atmospheric playing on offer. In ‘The Battle on the Ice’ that is justifiably the high point of this score Fischer does not rush his fences, so the steady build-up to the battle’s climax, while never lacking excitement, is made all the more impressive. The soloist in the sixth movement ‘The Field of the Dead’ is the Russian mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova. Her youthful vocal timbre and vibrant idiomatic delivery is most appealing in this moving threnody. And the exemplary integration by the recording engineers of Kolosova’s voice with Fischer’s flowing accompaniment is most welcome, especially when all too often the soloist is unrealistically positioned too close to the microphone. The large chorus, well drilled by director Barlow Bradford, comprises the Utah Symphony Chorus, University of Utah A Capella Choir and the University of Utah Chamber Choir. Their legato singing in the ‘Song of Alexander Nevsky’ is quite lovely as is their discipline and precision, but occasionally, in the cantata’s more dramatic sections, I would have welcomed a tad more trenchant fervour, though in general there is no lack of vocal firepower. The Lieutenant Kijé Suite is one of Prokofiev’s most popular works and needs no introduction having received innumerable recordings on disc, though surprisingly this is only the fourth to appear in DSD Multichannel sound. Fischer, unlike Litton on BIS, opts for the usual five-movement concert suite rather than the alternative version in which the Romance and Troika movements are sung by a baritone. This fleet and beautifully characterised account of the score, superbly delivered by his Utah musicians is, for this listener, something of a revelation, while the state-of-the-art sound vividly captures every facet of Prokofiev’s distinctive orchestration from high piccolo to floor shaking bass drum. The Soundmirror team are already familiar with capturing, as here, a wonderfully coherent soundstage and rounded ambience in the generous acoustic of the Maurice Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah where both works were recorded live (18th and 19th November 2016). The multi-channel 5.0 recording, made and post produced in DSD 64fs, offers a degree of aural realism not to be found in any rival medium, but is shown to particular advantage in large-scale orchestral and choral pieces such as these. It need hardly be said that as always from Reference Recordings the presentation of this release is first class. The excellent liner notes include – a splendidly informative seven page essay on both works by Paul Griffiths, an English translation from the Russian of the vocal sections of Alexander Nevsky, as well as a listing of the members of the Utah Symphony and all the other performers involved. This stunningly recorded album with 60 minutes of compelling music performed with style and verve will almost certainly make it the go-to choice for a modern version these two works. Performance: 4.5 out of 5 Stars Multichannel Sonics: 5 out of 5 Stars

Graham Williams [read full review]

Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kijé Suite (2019)

Prokofiev

Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer

Digital Converters: Horus, Merging Technologies
Financial Support: George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
Mastering Engineer: Mark Donahue (Soundmirror, Boston)
Microphones: Soundmirror chose 5 DPA 4006 microphones as the main microphone array. Supplementing those with “spot mics” to clarify the detail of the orchestration, they worked toward realizing above goals.
Notes: This recording was made and post produced in DSD 64fs on a Pyramix workstation to give you, the listener, the highest quality possible.
Producer: Dirk Sobotka (Soundmirror, Boston)
Recording Engineer: John Newton (Soundmirror, Boston)
Recording Location: Maurice Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 18 and 19, 2016
Recording Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 256

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
Included in any DSD purchase is access to the base DSD64 resolution. All DSD capable units will be able to play DSD64.
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FR735: Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kijé Suite
00:59:49   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Alexander Nevsky - Russia under Mongolian Tyranny
Prokofiev
00:03:29   Select quality & channels above
2.
Alexander Nevsky - Song of Alexander Nevsky
Prokofiev
00:03:50   Select quality & channels above
3.
Alexander Nevsky - The Crusade in Pskov
Prokofiev
00:07:28   Select quality & channels above
4.
Alexander Nevsky - Arise, People of Russia
Prokofiev
00:02:06   Select quality & channels above
5.
Alexander Nevsky - The Battle on the Ice
Prokofiev
00:13:46   Select quality & channels above
6.
Alexander Nevsky - The Field of the Dead
Prokofiev
00:06:13   Select quality & channels above
7.
Alexander Nevsky - Alexander enters Pskov
Prokofiev
00:04:31   Select quality & channels above
8.
Lieutenant Kije Suite - Kije's Birth
Prokofiev
00:03:58   Select quality & channels above
9.
Lieutenant Kije Suite - Romance
Prokofiev
00:03:51   Select quality & channels above
10.
Lieutenant Kije Suite - Kije's Wedding
Prokofiev
00:02:33   Select quality & channels above
11.
Lieutenant Kije Suite - Troika
Prokofiev
00:02:42   Select quality & channels above
12.
Lieutenant Kije Suite - Kije's Funeral
Prokofiev
00:05:22   Select quality & channels above

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