Prokofiev: Cinderella Suite / Ravel: La Mère l'Oye

Prokofiev: Cinderella Suite / Ravel: La Mère l'Oye

by Martha Argerich, Mikhail Pletnev
     
 

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As her fans know, Martha Argerich often prefers the duo-piano format to performing solo, and the musical chemistry she shares with Mikhail Pletnev on this recording provides plenty of justification for this choice. Especially in the suite from Serge Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella -- nine numbers from the orchestral score transcribed by Pletnev himself -- the two

Overview

As her fans know, Martha Argerich often prefers the duo-piano format to performing solo, and the musical chemistry she shares with Mikhail Pletnev on this recording provides plenty of justification for this choice. Especially in the suite from Serge Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella -- nine numbers from the orchestral score transcribed by Pletnev himself -- the two come together in such unity that only the sheer number of notes gives away the fact that more than one pianist is at work. They communicate the humor and poignancy of Prokofiev's music vividly, and there's no shortage of fireworks in the virtuoso dances. A worthy addition to the duo-piano repertoire, Pletnev's transcription is a delight from start to finish. Maurice Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye (Mother Goose) is also better known in its orchestral form. In this case, however, Ravel composed the version for four-hand piano first, only later arranging the score for orchestra (and expanding it into a ballet). Ravel's fairy tales have an air of impressionistic mystery that Prokofiev's harder-edged fable lacks, with Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, and the other characters making their appearances through a veil of nostalgia for childhood's lost innocence. Still, Mother Goose makes a perfect disc-mate for Cinderella, not least because it gives us the opportunity to hear another sublime performance from Pletnev and Argerich, whose artistry captures the essence of both of these exquisite voyages into the land of make-believe.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Mikhail Pletnev's has made a transcription for two pianos of excerpts from Prokofiev's "Cinderella" ballet that is as colorful and rich as the orchestral original, particularly when performed by such amazing pianists as Pletnev and Martha Argerich. The transcription is based not on the orchestral score, but on Prokofiev's own solo piano transcriptions, which means that this version, while obviously denser in textures than the solo piano version, is still transparent and clear in expression. Carefully chosen excerpts contrast moments of quiet lushness, as in the "Introduction" and "Winter," with the Classicism of the Gavotte and the briskness of the Gallop. Pletnev's Finale combines the ball's waltz with the chiming of the clock, an ingenious use of the percussive capabilities of the piano, and the shimmering scales that transport the Prince and Cinderella to fairyland at the end of the ballet. Pletnev and Argerich quite effectively convey the ballet's story and the complex sentiments of the characters and action that Prokofiev puts into the music, from the nattering energy of the "Quarrel" to the swirling waltz and ringing bells of the Finale. You can easily imagine the ballet being performed with this ensemble rather than a full orchestra. The inclusion of Ravel's "Mother Goose" suite on the disc is a delightful bonus. Again, they wonderfully bring out the color and richness of the music that is hidden within its simple lines. This is a disc for fans of "Cinderella" as well as those of two piano music.
Gramophone - Bryce Morrison
Listening to this inspired disc is like eaves-dropping on two of the great pianists of our time playing for their own pleasure.... You will be enthralled. DG's sound is exemplary; this is surely a record in a thousand.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/14/2004
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947481720
catalogNumber:
000310902
Rank:
76974

Tracks

  1. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Introduction
  2. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Quarrel
  3. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Winter
  4. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Spring
  5. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Cinderella's Waltz
  6. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Gavotte
  7. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Gallop
  8. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Valse lente
  9. Cinderella, ballet, Op. 87: Finale
  10. Ma mère l'oye, for piano, 4 hands (or orchestra)

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