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CHAN 10519
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CHAN 10519

Prokofiev: The Queen of Spades/ On Guard for Peace

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2009

Originally recorded in 2008


Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Jarvi

Niall Docherty

boy soprano

Irina Tchistjakova

mezzo-soprano and narrator

Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus

Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus


Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow


Brian Pidgeon


Ralph Couzens

Jonathan Cooper


Record Label



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 65:43
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premiere recording
  Symphonic Suite adapted from  

The Queen of Spades

  Rediscovered music from an unreleased film score  
  Arranged and elaborated by Michael Berkeley (b. 1948)  
1 I Introduction and Allegro 9:38
2 II Adagio 4:51
3 III Scherzo - 2:19
4 IV Finale - 11:26
5 (leading into Epilogue: Dumka 3:50

On Guard for Peace, Op. 124

  An oratorio in ten movements  
  Original text by Samuil Marshak (1950)  
6 I Scarce has the Earth recovered 2:25
7 II Those who are ten today 2:01
8 III Stalingrad - City of Glory 2:35
9 IV Let enduring peace on Earth be the heroes' reward 2:25
10 V We do not want war 2:32
11 VI Dove of Peace 2:25
12 VII Lullaby 6:30
13 VIII At the Festival of Peace 4:34
14 IX Radio conversation 2:34
15 X The whole world is ready for war against war 5:38
 Irina Tchistjakova mezzo-soprano and narrator
 Niall Docherty boy soprano
Symphonic Fragments from The Queen of Spades, as arranged and elaborated by Michael Berkeley, coupled with the seldom performed oratorio On Guard for Peace – Neeme Järvi conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, in this their twenty-second Prokofiev recording for Chandos.

In 1936 Prokofiev was commissioned to write the score for Mikhail Romm’s film The Queen of Spades. Stalin’s directives put an end to the project and the film was never realised; consequently Prokofiev’s score was left unheard, and in the case of some numbers unorchestrated. In 2007/2008 Michael Berkeley was commissioned to complete the score for a ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, titled Rushes and performed in 2008. This arrangement gave Prokofiev’s music viable dramatic shape, though independent of the original film plot. The Symphonic Fragments recorded here return to and elaborate further upon the surviving film music material to create an extended suite for the concert hall.

Berkeley describes his work as follows: ‘I think the best phrase is that I have “arranged and elaborated” what Prokofiev wrote. It has a wonderful energy and rhythm. Yes, of course it has a film-music feel, but it also has this obsessive quality.’

It is coupled here with Prokofiev’s final politically motivated work, and the last of his choral compositions, the stirring oratorio On Guard for Peace.

“Two very cinematic scores from Prokofiev: one is real movie-music, a realisation by Michael Berkeley of the Russian composer’s unfinished sketches for a film of The Queen of Spades. Crisply performed, it is full of the typically side-stepping harmonies and dry humour you’d expect. The oratorio On Guard for Peace has a ‘big tune’ that hooks into your ear….. there’s an enticingly light touch to the music. The well-drilled non-Russian choir is convincing, the boy soprano’s sweet rich sound is impressive and the dark-voiced Slavic mezzo provides a fabulously throaty narration.”

Emma Baker

Classic FM Magazine - August 2009

“The performance is a good one, and the sound is excellent. As the only recording of Queen of Spades, this is a must for Prokofiev fans”

American Record Guide

“…The performances lack nothing for sheen, professionalism, or spirit, Jarvi is in good form, leading with concentration and fervor … The Royal Scottish National Orchestra  Chorus and Junior Chorus sing with admirable control of dynamics and expressiveness. Niall Docherty does the honours as boy soprano in a thoroughly professional manner.”  

Barry Brenesal


Fanfare - November/December 2009

T Janus

R Joffre