Symphonic Suite Of Waltzes
Gypsy Fantasy Op. 127
Kansas City Philharmonic
Hans Schweiger, conductor
Review by Karl Lozier
Click here to e-mail reviewer
Cisco Music CLP 7002
This recording goes back a way. When made this was a recording of "firsts". First recording of orchestra, conductor and the
Symphonic Suite of Waltzes. Prokofiev was a prolific composer whose style changed very little over the decades. Much of his music has an ironic or satiric vein to it. You could say he is famous for it. There are identifiable characteristics that are apparent from compositions as diverse as the immensely likeable and popular "Peter and the Wolf" to the powerfully dramatic cantata, "Alexander
Nevsky" that has become an audiophile favorite.
This review is fortunately rather easy to write. In the music realm I am not familiar with most of the music on this LP and only have copies of a couple of the waltzes. The
Symphonic Suite is simply a collection of a half dozen waltzes from previous compositions. The waltzes are very melodic and easily likable even if you are not familiar with them. They are what could be referred to as a bit heavier or more serious than a typical waltz by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky. By comparison his waltzes are lightweight and very lyrical.
The "Gypsy Fantasy" which finishes side two of this fine heavy (280 gram) LP record is basically a collection of five selections from Prokofiev's ballet the Stone Flower which was written in 1950 and of course is one of his later works. I had always been led to believe it was not one of his better compositions nor one of his more popular. No matter, most of Prokofiev's compositions have beautiful and appealing sections or passages to them, even liked by listeners who might not appreciate the work overall. The selections that make up this "Gypsy Fantasy" are very appealing and nicely scored. In fact, there is a good chance that most listeners may find the "Gypsy Fantasy" more appealing than even the fine Waltzes, and certainly a bit more diverse. Musically the entire recording is very appealing to anyone looking for something new or just a bit different; there is nothing here to discourage new listeners.
I had just finished evaluating the phono section of the new Musical Fidelity A3.2
pre-amplifier. Having a number of favorite or best LPs lying around, I switched to my usual Herron phono amplification unit to compare. Then I started listening to this LP, which was mastered from the original master tapes and produced by Robert Pincus and Robert
Sliger. It is a most worthy effort with nothing significant to deter any music lover. This LP is very deserving of consideration and purchase. Please remember it is the small companies such as Cisco Music that keep the big companies on their collective toes. I found the perspective to be rather close up for the most part particularly the strings, which were well produced and sounded just like the real thing. The basses were quite superbly reproduced during the beginning of the waltz
"New Year's Ball", very close up and clearly delineated. On side one there were times when I thought (but can not know without reference to the score) the brass seemed to be rather distant sounding or muted.
Even if the trumpets were perhaps disappointed the winds should be ecstatic as they were doing a fine job and were very clearly being heard. During the "Gypsy Fantasy" the brass were more clearly heard but never like the live sound "cutting clearly" through the entire orchestra. Harp and triangle were fine and the bass end very full and rich if not as detailed and powerful as the best LPs, original and particularly remastered ones from the great golden age. I am fussy and a nitpicker and I can live easily with this fine production. My guess is that with the obvious care and dedication of Cisco Music that the final listening product is slightly, and I mean slightly, limited by the original producers and recording engineers. Forty to fifty years ago there were only approximately a half dozen recording teams that were generally regarded as excellent or outstanding and even then, not always consistently so. Keep up the fine work Cisco Music.