PROKOFIEV: Cinderella Ballet (complete).
Here is a real bargain, coupling two of Ashkenazy's finest orchestral recordings. Cinderella was recorded in 1983, originally issued on two full-priced CDs (London 410 162). Glazunov's Seasons was recorded in London in two spread-out sessions, in the fall of 1989 in Walthamstow Hall and almost a year later in Watford Town Hall -- with no difference in sound quality between the two locations. Originally it was issued as a generous filler to Ashkenazy's superb Nutcracker, again requiring two full-priced CDs (London 433 000). Now we have both of these ballets together for the price of just one CD. In some ways, progress has been made in the recording industry.
Ashkenazy's imaginative performance of Cinderella has always been my favorite complete recording of the score. I would not want to be without Leopold Stokowski's 1958 recording of excerpts. The only other similarly-priced recording of Cinderella is EMI's with Andre Previn/London Symphony, but the coupling isn't as generous -- just the same composer's Symphony No. 1. London's engineers achieved spectacular sound in Cleveland -- broad, defined, brilliant on the upper end, with rumbling bass sure to test any sound system. The sound is almost as good for Ashkenazy's imaginative performance of Glazunov's exquisite score. The only problem with the new coupling is tracking. There are 50 helpful tracks for every episode of Cinderella, only four for Seasons when there should have been 18.
R.E.B. (May 2000)