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Monday, April 19, 2021

Prokofiev By Arrangement, Music for the Stage and Keyboard Arranged for Violin and Piano, Yuri Kalnits, Yulia Chaplina


If you love Prokofiev you will want to consider today's album, Prokofiev By Arrangement (Toccata Classics TOCC 0135). It is aptly subtitled Music for the Stage and Keyboard Arranged for Violin and Piano by Fichtengolz, Heifetz, Milstein and Others. The performers live up to expectations with warmth, energy and fire as needed. They are Yuri Kalnits on violin and Yulia Chaplina on the piano.

Some of the re-arrangements are of works very well known by the Classical music world. Others are less familiar. So we all no doubt awake with the pleasure of recognition for the violin-piano versions of Prokofiev's March for the Love for Three Oranges, and the "Five Pieces from the Ballet Cinderella." Each of these benefits from the visceral refreshment of sound it gets by means of the rearragement, whether sometimes a bit thick, other times a bit thinner.

But then if you love Prokofiev you no doubt are familiar with much of this music in its original. In any case everyone can benefit from hearing this energizing mass of Prokofiev in one continuous arc of violin and piano. Kalnits and Chaplina bring to each considerable interpretive skills and a firm determination to let the music speak through them as the primary channeling, less so to emphasize their speaking, so to say. That makes for very convincing readings.

In any case we get a heightened musical concentration of bounty in this 64 minute program. I am glad to hear these versions of the Waltz from War and Peace, "Tales of an Old Grandmother," "Visions Fugitives," the 1919 "Four Pieces for Piano," the 1906-13 "Ten Pieces for Piano," and others. All the reworkings are worthwhile, truth to say.

If you listen with a bit of dedication a few times I think that like me you will get a nicely expanded feeling for Prokofiev the melodist, the harmonist, the structuralist. In part surely that is because both the simplifying or the enriching of the sound of each of these works brings us to revelatory and also quite pleasurable places.

It's a treasure trove of resituated Prokofiev. And it feels good to hear it, surely Check it out. Bravo Kalnits and Chaplina! Strongly recommended.

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