About the album
The present compilation presents rarely recorded titles from Prokofiev's creative output. They all come from the era of World War II. Therefore they are not only musical documents but also epochal witnesses from a time whose aftermath is still persisting until today. The outbreak of war in 1941 stimulated soviet composers - symphonic music became one of the most important creative areas in those four years of war. Prokofiev's symphonic suite "The year 1941" came up as one of the first works, yet was only first performed in January 1943. If you just ignore the "militant" nature, the extravagance and the acoustic power, this suite emotionally has an almost neutral effect. This reveals - like in all other works of Prokofiev - how clearly he distinguished between ideological content and its transformation into music. Least of all this applies to the "Ballade of the boy who remained unknown", which indeed shows traits of propaganda and is the first recording for a CD release. These recordings with Alexander Titov conducting impress by their authenticity and the understandig for the historical cohrenences.
The director Aleksander Titov was born in 1954. He received his musical education at the Leningrad conservatory as a pianist, choir director, and opera-symphony director, from such famed professors as Avenir Mikhailov and Ilya Musin. His concert activities at the finest Leningrad halls began in the mid 1970s. Titov participated in international projects as an assistant to Mstislav Rostropovich and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. He is especially famous as a wonderful interpreter of 20th century music, as well as of many rarely-performed and forgotten compositions. In terms of his creative assets - aside from the symphonies - are many cantata-oratory works. He brought into existence and premiered such opuses as "Cantata on the 20th October of Prokofiev," and the cantata "The History of Doctor Johann Faust." Aleksander Titov actively tours abroad, and has especially durable creative contacts with the BBC orchestra. Since 1991 Aleksander Titov has been the guest conductor of the Mariinsky theatre. His theatrical repertoire includes Russian opera classics (in the same vein as Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila"), Shostakovich's "Katerina Izmailova," Prokofiev's four operas ("The Gambler," "Love for three oranges," "Semyon Kotko," "War and Peace"), and almost all traditional ballet classics (including Tchaikovsky's ballets), all ballets from Stravinsky's Russian period of creativity, and Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet." With opera and ballet troupes he has performed in many countries on five continents, including on the world's most famous stages: The Metropolitan Opera, The San Francisco Opera, Milan's "La Scala," Venice's "La Fenice," and in the Colliseum in London. Aleksandr Titov teaches at the St. Petersburg conservatory.
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