Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

 
Keyword Search
 
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 
See latest reviews of other albums...

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, May 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed Marin Alsop’s account of Romeo and Juliet which does full justice to Prokofiev’s inspired score. The Baltimore Symphony is with her all the way, playing marvellously. Tim Handley has produced and engineered the recording and he’s done a very good job. The sound has an excellent dynamic range—vital in this music—and you can hear all the details of Prokofiev’s colourful and inventive orchestration. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, September 2018

Not surprisingly, Marin Alsop’s reading here essentially features a multi-pronged approach, offering a sumptuous and lush rendering of the many lyrical themes, as well as an emotionally charged take on the tragic music and a spirited and colourful view of the many playful and festive moments in the ballet.

…I would give a slight edge to Alsop over her rivals on CD because her sound reproduction is first rate… Is Cinderella next for Alsop? It would seem, at some point in the near future, that that will likely happen. As for this Romeo—I highly recommend it. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2018

Alsop’s features fine playing by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and straightforward (but not dull) conducting. I don’t know if Alsop has ever conducted a danced production of this ballet, but her tempos and phrasing seem to have been chosen after having asked the question, “Could dancers actually move to this? Would this inspire them in their dancing?” © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, July 2018

Alsop is in the balletic camp. She is an effective storyteller who captures lighter and more romantic aspects of the music very well and does not stint on the fight scenes. She combines American directness with French flexibility, grace, and color, resulting in a reading that is highly characterized and visual. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, May 2018

Romeo and Julia is one of Prokofiev most distinguished pieces. Marin Alsop’s finely differentiated and nuanced interpretation with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra floods the music with a pleasantly warm evening light and always seems to remind us that this piece is a ballet. © 2018 Pizzicato



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2018

Some of the most effective music in the score occurs at the end of Act II when Romeo challenges Tybalt and kills him to avenge the death of Mercutio. The death of Tybalt (No. 9, Finale) coveys the agony of sudden, violent death as viscerally as anything in all of music.

There’s a wealth of vivid detail in this score, of which I’ve only briefly touched. Alsop conveys it all to us with a masterful hand, and without sacrificing any of the sweep and flow of the score, and the orchestra responds with alacrity. © 2018 Audio Video Club of Atlanta



Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, April 2018

…Marin Alsop conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in an intense, voluptuous and pliant account. © 2018 The Guardian Read complete review



Andrew Scott
The WholeNote, April 2018

…we have another fine complete capture of this most beautiful work that successfully balances the effervescent and playful bounce of dance with the drama, passion and ultimately Act IV darkness of Shakespeare’s original text. Recommended. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), April 2018

Based on Shakespeare’s most famous romantic play, Prokofiev’s realization of Romeo and Juliet as a full-length narrative ballet was audacious in its day. It was written during a period of artistic turmoil under a Soviet regime in which arguments raged over such fundamental aspects as the choice between a happy or tragic ending. Marin Alsop’s acclaimed cycle of Prokofiev’s Symphonies has been described as “an outstanding achievement” by BBC Music Magazine. © 2018 WFMT (Chicago)



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2018

Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony come through with a detailed, spirited and impassioned reading of the complete opus. This may not be Prokofiev at his most Modern, in spite of some huge dissonances and some idiosyncratically hard-edged moments in the score. It hardly matters or it should not when the music is this transcendent and lasting.

The memorable lyrical-brittle music for this ballet speaks to me as much as ever, in no small thanks to Alsop’s loving attention. It is nothing short of a triumph, I must say. If you have not spent time with the complete Romeo and Juliet, here is the chance to do it with an excellent performance at a nice price.

Well recommended. © 2018 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, April 2018

The love scenes are gorgeous: light and elegant, flowing and shapely. Whether in the balcony scene or Rome and Juliet Before Parting, this is wonderful playing and conducting. The entire Fourth Act, two, has great sadness and lyricism. You’re not going to hear the kind of expressionist horror that, say, Karel Ancerl brings to the music, but Alsop’s view is both moving and consistent with what has come before. There’s a lot of repetition in the complete ballet: the conflict scenes, the cute folk dance stuff—even two dances with mandolins. Alsop sustains interest, and that’s an achievement all by itself. © 2018 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, April 2018

Superb performances, and the recording, made in the warm acoustics of Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Hall in October 2015, is well-balanced and wide in dynamic range. © 2018 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
AllMusic.com, April 2018

This first-rate performance may remind listeners of the classic complete recordings by André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, and Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and even though those recordings are still readily available, Alsop’s shows that Romeo and Juliet can still inspire a fine interpretation in the digital era, making this recording essential listening for Prokofiev fans. © 2018 AllMusic.com Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, April 2018

Under Alsop’s command the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra more than rises to the occasion. On a technical level alone, the playing is stunning. But it’s the uncanny way in which the players seem able to add just the right tonal nuance and color to match the atmosphere and mood of each of the numbers. In my opinion, this Romeo and Juliet is at least the equal of the Maazel and Ashkenazy versions and may even surpass them. This is an outstanding success that redounds to the credit of all involved, including the recording engineers and producer, and a top recommendation for anyone in the market for a new Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review




Infodad.com, March 2018

…Marin Alsop opts for pacing that would work quite well for dancers, and that proves to be a significant strength of her performance. …Alsop has a great flair for the dramatic…and when the strings are not required to produce quite as high a degree of clarity, they acquit themselves very well. Thus, the love scenes come across with exceptional beauty and warmth here; the performance of the lower strings in the love scene that ends Act I is a particular standout. Other sections of the orchestra also shine in their own way, the woodwinds being especially notable, with the orchestra’s principal flute and oboe playing with truly lovely tone. © 2018 Infodad.com Read complete review




Michael Quinn
primephonic, March 2018

Marin Alsop follows her acclaimed survey of Prokofiev’s symphonies with a beautifully realised account—full of pulse-quickening drama, mischievous wit and heart-on-sleeve emotion—of his masterpiece ballet, Romeo and Juliet.

It is heard here in its 1939 revision in a performance of thrilling immediacy. Notable from the off is Alsop’s sureness of touch, clarity of expression and a supple way with tempi that never forgets this is music to be danced to. Her pacing is fleet yet never rushed, the momentum beautifully maintained by a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra playing at the top of its game with richly detailed textures and pristine tone. © 2018 primephonic Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2018

Continuing Marin Alsop’s critically acclaimed cycle of the complete symphonies of Sergey Prokofiev, we have this fine new release of the music for Romeo and Juliet. The ballet has been extremely fortunate on disc, and I am among the critics who find it impossible to recommend just one version, clinging on to six in my own collection. This new one from Baltimore only makes it even more impossible, for it starts out with what is arguably is the best recording quality of all, and packs tremendous weight when required while retaining inner clarity. Sure the violins do not have that razor-sharp precision of the London Symphony with Previn in the fight scene early in the first act, but that in its own way only increases Alsop’s atmosphere of pure frenzy, and it is the strings that in less demanding times will later enhance the beauty of the love scenes. I don’t know whether Alsop has conducted the ballet in the theatre, but her tempos would be ideal for dancing, and are much in accord with the recording of the Kiev Theatre Orchestra with Gergiev conducting. I suppose one does tend to enjoy the purple patches in the score when Prokofiev unleashes the full orchestra, but it is a score that equally relies on the quality of its numerous solo instrumental passages, and we have in the past recognised the quality of the individual members of the Baltimore, this score particularly showcasing the woodwind with outstanding contributions from the principal flute and oboe. Move to the love scene that ends the first act, and Alsop’s interpretation oozes with passion, the lower strings underpinning it to ideal effect. The Dance of the Mandolins is perfect, and probably the best on disc; the scene with Friar Laurence having the correct solemnity; the Dual seems a bit underpowered, but it then gives Alsop scope to make the end of Act 2 a real ‘show-stopper’. Without the stage action the third act can fall rather flat, but here it is presented with a suitable mix of sadness and tenderness, while there is a delightful, Dance of the Girls with Lilies in Act 3, and Juliet’s funeral scene is as powerful as you will hear on disc. The outstanding recording from Tim Handley has a very wide dynamic range best played when the neighbours are out. Strongly recommended. © 2018 David’s Review Corner





Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group