Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Valery Gergiev – In Rehearsal and In Concert
Scythian Suite (1915) [23:43]
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
rec. Rotterdam De Doelen (Concert Hall) 1997
Format: NTSC, 4:3 Full Screen; LPCM
KULTUR VIDEO D4570 [1 DVD – Suite: 23:43; Documentary: 34:11]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc is part of a series by Kultur Video called Great Conductors. While it contains a concert performance of the Scythian Suite led by Valery Gergiev, it can be viewed largely as a documentary about Prokofiev and the Russian conductor’s relationship to the composer’s music. Gergiev declares that Prokofiev is “maybe my favorite composer”. He’s lived up to that declaration, having conducted numerous concert and operatic performances of Prokofiev’s works and having recorded more Prokofiev than any other conductor, with the possible exceptions of Neeme Järvi and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Filmed in 1997, this Kultur Video DVD contains some interesting archival footage and photographs of the composer.

In addition there is much rehearsal footage of Gergiev leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Scythian Suite. Gergiev, who served as the orchestra’s principal conductor (1995-2008), comments extensively on the music and its history. He is from Ossetia, the region of the Caucasus Mountains where the ancient Scythians lived, and thus feels an even greater affinity for the music’s subject matter. There is also considerable commentary by the composer’s son Oleg (b. 1928), who died in 1998. Oleg was the composer’s second son; the oldest son, Sviatoslav - an interesting fellow whom I interviewed via email in the late-1990s for another web publication - was born in 1924 and is apparently still alive.

Prokofiev derived the music for the four-movement Scythian Suite from his early unfinished ballet Ala and Lolli. Gergiev takes great care in shaping the score, as is evidenced by his painstaking directions to the orchestra during rehearsals, which are conducted in English. His instructions often extend to the more remote parts of the orchestra, including the percussionist and tuba player, to whom he explains at length how to play two seemingly innocuous notes in the third movement! In the end, Gergiev, with fairly broad tempos, gives greater weight and darkness to the music than does Abbado, for example, in his recent recording with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra on Accentus.

Gergiev leads the work’s first movement, Invocation to Veles and Ala, with a powerful and sinister statement of the dissonant main theme, while in the latter half he turns the music exotic in its mystery, but with hints of danger lurking. The second panel, The Evil God and the Dance of the Pagan Monsters, is rhythmic and muscular in its primitive, wild music, Prokofiev invoking a truly grotesque dance scene.

The third movement, Night, is appropriately mysterious and ominous in Gergiev’s hands, with a powerful eruption at the climax that sends the music into a sort of mesmeric tailspin, with swirling strings and howling wind instruments reeling in the darkness. The finale, The Glorious Departure of Lolli and Sunrise, begins with brass somewhat more prominent than is usual in this fleet sequence. The tongue-in-cheek march that follows is colorfully played as is the ensuing humorous section. Sunrise features brass and percussion that almost crush you at the climax with their insistent fortes.

Tracks of the concert performance of the Scythian Suite are scattered across the disc, interleaved with rehearsal takes and commentary. If you want to hear an uninterrupted performance you’ll have to program your player to access the tracks in this order: 4, 6, 8, 10 and 13. There are five tracks because the first movement is split over nos. 4 and 6. The sound is good for its time and the camera work fine. Other worthy recordings of the Scythian Suite include Dorati/Mercury, Mata/Dorian, Järvi/Chandos and the aforementioned Abbado, as well as his 1987 effort with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on DG. Fans of Prokofiev and this work, as well as Gergiev mavens, should find this Kultur Video DVD of considerable interest.

Robert Cummings


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.