Barber: Piano Concerto, Die Natali, Medea's Meditation
Marin Alsop, Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Stephen Prutsman
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||Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, I. Allegro appassionato||Stephen Prutsman||13:47||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, II. Canzone: Moderato||Stephen Prutsman||6:35||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, III. Allegro molto||Stephen Prutsman||6:50||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Die Natali, Op. 37||Marin Alsop & Royal Scottish National Orchestra||17:06||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, Op. 29A||Marin Alsop & Royal Scottish National Orchestra||12:47||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Commando March||Marin Alsop & Royal Scottish National Orchestra||3:46||$0.99||View in iTunes|
My money back!
The dynamic range, both pianist and orchestra is from loud to noise, there's nothing in between. Pianist's sound is harsh and I was amazed to see that the orchestra tries to follow him in that pathetic noise making. Barber's music is killed in this "performance", the rhythmical figures are completely disstorted and there's clear that pianist and orchestra are almost never together, they're both guessing. I think that Naxos in general in order to make those cheap recordings, ended up making really CHEAP recordings. I thought that they wanted all these masterpieces to be accessible to music fans, but this way, it will be no music fans pretty soon. I hate the way that Barber sounds here, and if I didn't know who is Barber and what he wrote, I will never want to hear his music again. In my case, please, give me my money back! NOW!
first of all, i'm astounded at the current rating of prutsman's and the orchestra's performance here. this concerto is perhaps one of my favorite piano concertos of all time, and the execution here is absolutely marvelous in terms of both musical interpretation and technical expertise. the pianist (prutsman) is a master of tension and release, ranging from his beautiful melodic flow (particularly evident in the second movement) to what seems like a guy worried that the keys are going to fly off and impale him in the eye in the frantic strains of the third movement. this latter, of course, is a mood that anyone hoping to perform barber should master. bottom line: buy this album, mostly for the concerto than anything else. if you are disappointed, then i will just say you're a snob that's not willing to appreciate the evolving harmonic and rhythmic genius that trademarked 20th century music.
Barber Piano Concerto and Other Short Orchestral Works
Marin Alsop's wonderful Barber series reaches high-points on this disc. The complex Piano Concerto mixes Barber's typical lyricism with dissonance and formal complexity. Stephen Prutsman gives an intense performance of the solo part and Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra prove taut and responsive partners. This is not "easy" Barber. The Piano Concerto is a real mid-20th century work, complex, demanding (although tonal) and requires attention to reveal its beauties. The shorter works for orchestra get fine performances under Alsop's direction. This is another very good album indeed and a worthy companion to Alsop's other excellent Barber albums for Naxos. I can not leave this review without observing that the review posted on this site which condemns these performances as loud and ugly is not merely wrong, it seems perversely not even to reflect the material at hand. We can not be listening to the same recordings! This is not immediately tuneful and "accessible" Barber, but it is wonderful music played with both conductorial and orchestral panache. If you are a fan of 20th century American (tonal) classic music and of Barber, Copland and/or Leonard Bernstein this is an interesting excursion into less commonly heard music and definitely not an exercise in noise! As a pupil of Leonard Bernstein Alsop is particularly well qualified to handle the demands of this music and she delivers readings of idiomatic power. The RSNO sounds like the New York Philharmonic in the 1960s and that was the ideal orchestra for 20th century American music!
Born: October 16, 1956 in New York, NY
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s