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PROKOFIEV, S.: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 (excerpts) (arr. for viola and piano) (M. Jones, Golani, Hampton) One of Prokofiev’s best loved works today, Romeo and Juliet was initially declared ‘impossible to dance to’. The composer resorted to making Symphonic Suites of the work, subsequently arranged for viola and piano, with the composer’s full approval, by renowned Soviet performer and founder of the Beethoven String Quartet Vadim Vasilyevich Borisovsky. The adaptation loses little from Prokofiev’s timeless score through expert utilization of the viola’s full technical possibilities, a quality enhanced by the ‘sensuous and dramatic’ (The Strad) artistr


Naxos 8.572318y of outstanding viola player Matthew Jones.



We then got to what was, for us, the crux of the recital, eight of Borisovsky's thirteen viola arrangements from Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet ballet. They were very beautiful, with many opportunities for textual subtlety from Crawford-Phillips at the piano. These, taking most of half an hour, proved to be far the most memorable items in a quite long recital. Why any reservations about this so accomplished display of viola playing? In the first half, one noted Power's staid demeanour, with a lack of visual hints of passion or charm to help the audience into the music. Again, the severity of the Wigmore Hall ambience may have contributed; photographing players there is forbidden, so I include, instead, a shot of the platform during the interval, with a rail which clearly demarcates the performers' area from the audience's - good manners are expected of everyone. Nonetheless, this was an interesting recital, well worth having gone to. Arrangements play a significant part in today's music-making. The previous night we heard a massive LPO in movements from one of Prokofiev's Cinderella suites; it sounded overblown for music which can charm (q.v. the Lyon ballet DVD). Tonight's offering was surely the precursor to a Power/Borisovsky CD (Power is not a man for DVD...) of arrangements for viola, with Romeo & Juliet its centre?