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CHAN 10482
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CHAN 10482

Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky/ Scythian Suite/Le Pas d'acier

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2008

Originally recorded in 2007


Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Jarvi

Linda Finnie


Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus


Caird Hall, Dundee

Glasgow City Hall


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Ben Connellan

(Assistant: The Steel Dance)

Philip Couzens

(Assistant: other works)

Record Label
Chandos Classics



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 73:03
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Scythian Suite, Op. 20

  From the Ballet Ala et Lolly  
1 1 The Adoration of Veless and Ala 6:12
2 2 The Enemy God and the Dance of the Spirits of Darkness 3:10
3 3 Night 5:23
4 4 The Glorious Departure of Lolly and the Sun's Procession 5:07

Suite from 'The Steel Dance' (Le Pas d'acier), Op. 41a

  'A ballet of construction'  
5 1 Entry of the People 2:21
6 2 The Officials 4:42
7 3 The Sailor and the Factory-Worker 3:13
8 4 The Factory 2:56

Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78

  Cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra  
  from the music to the film  
9 I Russia under the Mongolian Yoke 3:03
10 II Song about Alexander Nevsky 3:36
11 III The Crusaders in Pskov 7:23
12 IV Arise ye Russian People 2:17
13 V The Battle on the Ice 13:14
14 VI The Field of the Dead 5:58
 Linda Finnie contralto
15 VII The Entry into Pskov 4:28
In this re-issue Chandos brings together Prokofiev’s epic and colourful cinematic cantata Alexander Nevsky (referring to the original disc, CD Review called it ‘the greatest performance and recording of this I have ever heard, live or on disc’), the powerful Scythian Suite (derived from the composer’s mythological ballet Ala et Lolly, written for Diaghilev) and the suite from the ballet The Steel Dance.

Gramophone, too, praised Järvi’s performance of Alexander Nevsky, ranking it as first choice: ‘Järvi catches the icy bitterness of the Russian winter snows at the very opening and is pungently overwhelming in the “Battle of the Ice”… It’s difficult to envisage anyone quite matching Järvi’s intimidatory SNO brass in this score’s more savage pages… a terrific display, excitingly engineered.’

Hi-Fi News wrote, ‘Listening to this has been a little like running some Technicolor, super-Panavision, Dolby stereo remake of Eisenstein’s 1938 black-and-white classic through one’s head. Such is Järvi’s graphic and wonderfully evocative sense of the visual and cinematic… and once again Järvi is handsomely served in his epic endeavours by some quite spectacular Chandos engineering’

As a young man Prokofiev was regarded as something of an enfant terrible largely on the strength of the first and Second piano Concertos and the Scythian Suite. The latter, scored for forces almost as large as those used in Le Sacre du Primtemps, earned him an altogether undeserved reputation as an iconoclast. In fact, Prokofiev was for more of a traditionalist at heart, and throughout his career he was drawn towards tradition forms – the sonata, the concerto and the symphony – though his genius flowered equally in the freer forms of the ballet and suite. The harmonic audacities of his early works gave way to a new simplicity that was already to be discerned before his return to the USSR in the early 1930s

The Battle on the Ice shows this conductor’s great ability at its best
International Record Review

The Scythian Suite is properly elemental, given a bold brazen recording in a huge acoustic
BBC Music Magazine

Two mightily vivid works provide rich programme meat in this reissue, drawn from Chandos’s admirable Prokofiev series. Anyone requiring a searing account of the choral cantata Alexander Nevsky, one shaped with visionary intensity and supported by sumptuous recorded sound, should head straight for Neeme Järvi’s recording
Classic FM Magazine

Time has proved Järvi’s 1988 recordings of film score suites by Prokofiev uncontested, which explains their re-release. Time also reminds us what a stunning contralto the Scot Linda Finnie was. Here she soothes the Russian Army with a sad folk melody in the Alexander Nevsky Suite, excised from the score for Einstein’s eponymous patriotic film. Strength, not age gave Finnie those voluminous low notes – too little was made of her career. Järvi, conducting the Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus, achieves a quivering sheen in the Battle on Ice and a passionate noise from the singers as they undiplomatically name their enemy
The Times

Fantastic to have all this music available for download, in hi resolution AND to a reasonable cost. I found that the download manager paused if it was set in the background using OS X 10.8. I think I need to set a budget, this could get dangerous... :) /johan
J Granath