Just in: Jurowski gets a record deal – but not the LPO

The conductor Vladimir Jurowski today signed ‘a long-term, multi-album agreement’ with the Dutch label, Pentatone.

But the recordings he will be making are not with his first orchestra, the London Philharmonic, where he has been music director since 2006.

It is confirmed that Jurowski will record a cycle of Prokofiev symphonies with the Moscow-based State Academic Symphony Orchestra ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ and other repertoire with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, where he becomes chief conductor in September.

The LPO will not be pleased by this development. It may signal the unravelling of their relationship.

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    • Who is waiting for a Prokofiev cycle? Imho the best symphony by far is the third. Already with stunning recordings by Chailly/ Concertgebouw, Muti/ Philadelphia and Abbado/ LSO. The overrated 5th is only in the 2nd& 3th movement interesting and strangely overrecorded. The second symphony: what a terrible piece! Sounds like Prokofiev wrote without thinking!
      Pentatone dutch label? They have a very weird choice of soloist, conductors& orchestras with no connection at all with the Dutch music scene.The LPO could have a choice to upgrade this label….

    • Exactly. Does everything have to be viewed negatively – why not all or both instead of either/or? Plenty of Jurowski recordings on the LPO label, and why should that change? And he’s already recorded elsewhere. A stunning Russian complete Sleeping Beauty is in the pipeline.

  • “The LPO will not be pleased by this development. It may signal the unravelling of their relationship.”

    You wish…

    • No loyalty these days indeed. When Previn was the LSO conductor he recorded with no other orchestra, but unlike Jurowski who is often bland ,he was a great conductor. His Prokofiev 6 is the finest ever

  • The good news is the promise of a complete survey of Prokofiev’s symphonies from Vladimir Jurowski.

  • The bad news is yet another set of Prokofieff symphonies. Does Jurowski have some special insight that was missed by Jarvi, Weller, Gergiev, Rostropovich, Martinon or several Others? The only ones that people care about are 1 and 5, and we have many superb recordings of both. Surely there is some other Prokofieff needing first-class recording, or other Russian composers.

    • Speak for yourself, Cubs Fan, instead of pretending to know what ‘people’ want. I for one am a passionate admirer of Prokofiev’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th (original version) and 6th symphonies – and I cannot be alone. Yes, Jurowski has distinct insights and perceptions to offer. I hope he will include some of the rarer Prokofiev in his plans, but it is churlish not to welcome this recording news.

  • Major detail. What’s his LPO contract read with respect to recordings? In the “old days” some Music Directors of major orchestras were constrained to record only with their home orchestras except by special permission of management/board. Surely such an important issue isn’t omitted from his agreement with the LPO?

  • I think the real question is why did Jurowski choose to do this project with an orchestra that wasn’t the LPO?

    • My guess is, PentaTone proposed the plan knowing the USSR State Symphony Orchestra (VJ’s Moscow job) would play brilliantly at half the London cost, with more or unlimited takes, and could be marketed as truer to Prokofiev’s sound.

  • You do know that the LPO have been releasing recordings with him on their own in house label at the rate of about 4 or 5 per year, in a wide variety of repertoire, for some time, yes? Presumably this will continue. And clearly he’s not going to have made this arrangement with Pentatone if it conflicts with his existing contractual arrangements. So I fail to see what is so shocking? Most conductors with titles at more than one orchestra release recordings with each on different labels. This not the 1980s anymore…

  • Because Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin is simply a better orchestra. They also have a long and fruitful cooperation with Pentatone. Their Wagner opera series with Marek Janowski, Vladimir Jurowski’s predecessor, recorded live from the Philharmonie in Berlin by Pentatone, was just exceptional!

    • On what evidence do you base that? If you live in Berlin rather than London, you might be biased. Why compare incomparables?

      • Indeed, I don’t have the privilege to inspect LPO’s performances live in concert halls on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t mean that my judgement and critic have to be ungrounded. On the contrary, at the latest since the appointment of Vladimir Jurowski, I have been following LPO’s development with great interest via numerous broadcast and CD recordings. I sincerely appreciate their effort of bringing those out-of-the-spotlight masterpieces by Taneyev, Kancheli & co. back to the program. They did a particularly memorable concert last year at the Klara Festival in Brussels, featuring works by Gubaidulina, Zemlinsky and Szymanowski.

        If I am indeed biased, then it is because of my personal preferences in terms of repertoire. The LPO might be a better Vaughan Williams orchestra, or more skillful at playing Elgar, Holst or Birtwistle. But concerning the repertoire I really care, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin is certainly the better choice. The latest evidence is the two Bruckner CDs (No.3 & 5) released on LPO’s own label, conducted by the late Stanisław Skrowaczewski. Wo ist der dunkle, weiche Klang!? Quoting Sir Simon Rattle’s spot-on description of the ideal late-romantic German sound: ” It’s WEICH, not SOFT.” Skrowaczewski also conducted Bruckner with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in his late years. The difference was immense.

        Am I comparing things which are inherently incomparable? Maybe. Nevertheless, aren’t most of those widely-known, but utterly ridiculous rankings from Britain, like Gramophone’s world greatest orchestra?

        More importantly, what we are talking about here is why Vladimir Jurowski favors his Berlin orchestra over LPO for his new Pentatone projects, isn’t it? It is obvious that the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin BETTER SUITS the need of this project because Pentatone has already recorded extensively with this orchestra in the Berlin venue. It’s not a trivial task for the recording engineers to set up their stuffs!

        Last but not least, I have to say, compared to LPO’s own label, Pentatone has much higher production quality in terms of recording and overall graphic design, with much more care and attention to details. Some of the typesettings on LPO’s CD covers are almost amateurish. It strikes me as a low-budget, quick & dirty repackage of the concert performances. But it is just my personal opinion.

  • Echo other comments about the LPO’s own label.
    And…even if they ARE coming to the end of their relationship, it has been a very long term and fruitful one, (since 2007). That’s probably one of the longer current conductor / orchestras relationships around.

  • I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that Mr. Jurowski has already had a history of recording with pentatone. In fact, he already has a Prokofiev 5th on record. He has various records doing Russian repertoire with the Russian National Orchestra. I would hardly qualify this devlopement as some apocalyptic downward spiral in the relationship with the LPO.

  • I have a private recording of Shostakovich 4th with Jurowski and the London Philharmonic taped in NY on March 7, 2010. I have the bizarre notion that not only is this the best 4th ever but (truly bizarre) that he was the first to really understand the 4th (Gergiev understands it too). So what about Rozhdestvensky, Kondrashin, Haiting, Kitajenko, Barshai and many others? I may be out of my mind, but after Jurowski it sounds to me they all faked it. So I wish he recorded a Shostakovich cycle rather than Prokofiev.

    • From my personal experience is Roshdestvensky the greatest Shostakovich conductor as Svetlanov is the greatest Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov& Scriabin conductor imho. There are rather descent renderings of the Shos.fourth symphony by:
      Previn/CSO, Chung/Philly,Haitink/LPO. Yes there are live accounts who are better than any studio recording. The best liverecording of 4th I know is: Hague Residentie Orchestra/Roshdestvensky. All the hysteria this music has is coming out….

  • I find Vladimir Jurowski one of the best conductors around and the LPO a fine orchestra. It is a great pity, that the LPO label cds sound grey, narrow and compressed. Very uninspiring. Jurowski has made five records for Pentatone, and I am happy that the collaboration will continue. Pentatone, especially in the surround mode, is vastly better than the LPO label.

    • This has to do with super audio cd technique and not with surround sound. Pentatone is a SACD label only, the LPOlabel is in general a conventional cd label. They released maybe sofar only four SACD titles. Beside I prefer in London the LSO and the Philharmonia above the LPO….

  • As long as it isn’t *another* recording of Four Seasons, or anything from Glass or Adams, I applaud.

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