While Russian music has been integral to the Oslo Philhamonic’s recording and performance schedule in the years that Vasily Petrenko has been at the helm, it has held an important position in the orchestra's repertoire dating back to its recordings with Mariss Jansons in the 1980s and 1990s. The orchestra recorded Prokofiev's Suites Nos. 1 and 2 from Romeo and Juliet in 1989, but never the complete ballet up until this point.
Vasily Petrenko readily admits this recording is a dream come true for him personally:
− For me it was a dream from my childhood, when I heard this music for the first time, to record this ballet. I'm very glad that it happened with such a great orchestra as Oslo Philharmonic!
− An unrivalled master of orchestration
Prokofiev’s score for the ballet includes tenor saxophone, four mandolins, cornet, celesta, organ, piano and a number of percussion instruments. The richness of the orchestration allows for unique timbres that Prokofiev employs expertly in the musical illustration of the world’s most iconic love story.
− Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is one of the best ballets in history, Vasily Petrenko says.
− It is very unique in its clarity and transparency of the music and characters, in its passion, sincerety and drama. Prokofiev was always able to create amazing melodies and to make them sound very natural. He is an unrivalled master of orchestration!
The new CD is Oslo Philharmonic's second recording with Vasily Petrenko on the Lawo label. The first release, of Scriabin's third and fourth symphonies in 2015, was hailed by reviewers as "divine and detailed" and "impressive".
The Oslo Philharmonic’s creative partnership with the Lawo label continues with Scriabin's first two symphonies. Furthermore, the 2016-17 will see the start of yet another recording series of music by Richard Strauss, including Ein Heldenleben and Also sprach Zarathustra.