COMPOSERS: Gabriel Prokofiev
ALBUM TITLE: Gabriel Prokofiev: Selected Classical Works 2003-2012
WORKS: Selected Classical Works 2003-2012
PERFORMER: Various Performers
From classical club nights to DJ’ed concertos, Gabriel Prokofiev (see ‘Background to’, left) steers a deft path through the thorny world of classical fusion. Combining first-rate classical credentials (not least being Sergei’s grandson) with a stint as an acclaimed producer of dance, electro and hip-hop, Prokofiev is bent on a mission to reframe and relocate classical music for the 21st century.
These ‘Selected Works’ showcase Prokofiev’s endeavours to accomplish this mission through his Nonclassical label, and it is with the more daring musical ‘collisions’ that the disc blooms. Featured movements of Concerto for Turntable and Orchestra pit DJ against ensemble in a spirited interplay between live and sampled sound, while Cello Multitracks draws fruitfully on dance music in its taut rhythmic construction and overlaying of nine separately-recorded tracks (all performed with great eloquence by Peter Gregson).
Where dance-music structures are inserted into more conventional classical forms, as in String Quartets Nos 1 and 2, the often-insistent repetition of rhythmic cells feels less compelling. Yet the extracts from Piano Book No. 1 for solo piano are rich in colour and invention, sharing the harmonic caprice of Prokofiev (the elder) with a chasmic depth reminiscent of Scriabin, and interpreted with exceptional poise by pianist/collaborator GéNIA.
The collection holds tantalising absences (the Concerto’s outer movements and the String Quartets’ ‘remixes’ included in their original releases), so while offering a fine introduction, the disc is also an enticing invitation to delve deeper into Prokofiev’s ‘Nonclassical’ world. Kate Wakeling