Romeo and Juliet


Romeo and Juliet – Suite No. 1, Op. 64a (excerpts) Romeo and Juliet – Suite No. 2, Op. 64b (excerpts) Performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti conducting.

Back in 1917, Chicago businessman Cyrus McCormick, Jr. encouraged Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to come to the United States, and asked him to send some of his scores to Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Frederick Stock. Prokofiev made his debut with the Chicago Symphony the following season, playing his First Piano Concerto and conducting the orchestra in his Scythian Suite in December 1918, both U.S. premieres.

The premiere of Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was given in Brno, Czechoslovakia; In the meantime, Prokofiev made two orchestral suites of seven excerpts each, and it was the first of these that he conducted in Chicago.

This new album features selections from both of Prokofiev’s suites, played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Muti. Having performed the suite in Chicago and on tour in 2011, the CSO and Maestro Muti returned to the work in the 2013/14 season and recorded it at Symphony Centre during live concerts in October 2013.

The Guardian wrote on the 9th of October 2014: “Muti’s lofty yet urgent style results in an imposing set of formal dances… His deliberate, grand-manner way with the love scenes won’t be to everyone’s taste, though. The playing is formidable and the sound state of the art.”

Here is The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Yuri Temirkanov, playing selections of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet:  


And next, here is Prokofiev’s suite as performed by the St. Petersburg Conservatory Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maris Janssons: