The famous Russian director Sergei Eisenstein held Prokofiev the film composer in the highest regard, and to couple their two celebrated collaborations, Ivan the Terrible and Alexander Nevsky, in a two-disc set is therefore entirely appropriate. Ivan the Terrible, however, is a problematic score. Assembled by Abram Stassevich after the composer’s death, the oratorio lacks the large-scale balances and tensions of Prokofiev’s own Nevsky cantata, relying on narration to hold the structure together. This substantial English version by Michael Lankester, intended to ‘compensate for the lack of visual image’, is well projected by Christopher Plummer. Rostropovich directs a vivid performance of Alexander Nevsky, and only the rich tone of Russian voices is lacking. The LSO plays brilliantly, while the recording does full justice to one of Prokofiev’s finest scores.
And here we have another winner in BIS's magnificent series of the symphonies and piano concertos of Alexander Tcherepnin. The music is marvelous, and the performances very good. To start with the two purely orchestral works, the Symphonic Prayer and the Magna mater are stylistically similar yet imaginative and written in a rather personal idiom. Both are based on chorale harmonies, but the music is nevertheless overall full of energy. No, there are no immediately memorable themes here, but both works are of the kind where you immediately appreciate every move and magnificently wrought detail…….G.D @ Amazon.com
Ancient Empires before Alexander is your opportunity to finally complete your knowledge of the ancient world with a comprehensive look at history's first empires. Professor Robert L. Dise Jr. of the University of Northern Iowa—an expert on the history of the ancient world—examines these fascinating kingdoms as their own unique subjects, ones that reflect the struggles, successes, and failures of establishing an empire. Over the course of 36 insightful lectures, follow the Egyptians, the Mycenaean Greeks, the Persians, the Carthaginians, and others as they rise to glory, create administrative and military structures, clash with one another, and eventually collapse.
Hindemith composed more than 30 sonatas for the most diverse instruments – all of which he was capable of playing himself! This fascinating selection of works written between 1935 (when he became persona non grata in Nazi Germany) and 1948 (the brilliant Cello Sonata for Piatigorsky) is played by some of today’s finest soloists, with the guiding spirit of Alexander Melnikov at the piano. How often does one hear a sonata for Althorn? Especially one published along with a poem by the composer?
Alexander Tcherepnin (1899 – 1977) was a Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor known for his cosmopolitan style that included influences from France and the Far East. His Father was the composer Nikolai Tcherepnin. Although Tcherepnin's style was Russian at heart, it lacked much of the Romantic melancholy and overt nationalism seen in other Russian-born composers. Instead, his earlier works are characterized by a French leanness and clarity and an emphasis on the clean articulation of form.