Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5; The Year 1941

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
The first volume of a complete cycle of Sergey Prokofiev's symphonies on Naxos, this 2012 release by Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is an auspicious beginning. The "Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100," is one of Prokofiev's most admired works, and its monumental style is immediately identifiable and accessible to listeners. The heroic sweep of the themes and the drama of the development give the music a resolute quality, typical of Prokofiev's wartime works. Yet the music also holds a strong intellectual appeal in its coherent symphonic form and the powerful use of constant tonal movement, albeit in Prokofiev's manner of abruptly shifting, rather ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
The first volume of a complete cycle of Sergey Prokofiev's symphonies on Naxos, this 2012 release by Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is an auspicious beginning. The "Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100," is one of Prokofiev's most admired works, and its monumental style is immediately identifiable and accessible to listeners. The heroic sweep of the themes and the drama of the development give the music a resolute quality, typical of Prokofiev's wartime works. Yet the music also holds a strong intellectual appeal in its coherent symphonic form and the powerful use of constant tonal movement, albeit in Prokofiev's manner of abruptly shifting, rather than smoothly modulating, to different keys. To fill out the disc, Alsop and the orchestra perform "The Year 1941, Op. 90," a symphonic suite that depicts the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in three volatile and epic movements. The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra plays with considerable energy and force, and the performances are quite muscular and propulsive, giving both the suite and the symphony visceral expressions and great physical presence. Alsop is evidently a sympathetic interpreter of Prokofiev, because the tempo and pacing always feel spot-on, and the character of the music rings true. Naxos offers exceptional reproduction of the vivid instrumental colors with appropriately resonant acoustics, so this series starts off brilliantly, with worthy performances that sound terrific.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/26/2012
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313302970
  • Catalog Number: 8573029
  • Sales rank: 140,149

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 The Year 1941, suite for orchestra, Op. 90 - Sergey Prokofiev & Marin Alsop (15:02)
  2. 4–7 Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100 - Sergey Prokofiev & Marin Alsop (44:41)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Marin Alsop Primary Artist
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 13, 2012

    Grand new recording from an unexpected source!

    Almost every classical listener who has been paying attention knows of the high quality work of conductor Marin Alsop. I have had the good fortune to see and hear Marin live and she really is a gifted conductor with a particular talent for the music of the twentieth century to the present. Alsop is the music director of the Baltimore Symphony and has already begun to steer that ensemble into the ranks of one of America's finest. This very satisfying new recording of two of Prokofiev's best scores provides some grand listening moments but with a couple of surprises. First of all, Marin Alsop is also the newly appointed principal conductor of the present Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra and they play very well indeed under her direction. I do not think I have heard the OSESP ever before and this is certainly a very impressive introduction. The music itself is, of course, grand in every way but the "surprise" here is the "Symphonic Suite, op. 90, 'The Year 1941'" This pro-Russian patriotic suite was intended to extol the Russian forces in their holding back of the Germans at the western boundary; the Russian Front. Ironically, everyone from Stalin to Myaskovsky to Shostakovich had considered it a fairly weak score and not really befitting of the events it sought to laud. However, it is still vintage and characteristic Prokofiev and full of wonderfully full moments. Prokofiev later used the score for a soundtrack to a propaganda film (of sorts), "Partisans in the Ukrainian Steppes" The "Symphony #5" is a much better known score and most count it among the composers finest works. This recording fares quite well. The second movement, allegro marcato, and the third, adagio, are particularly strong under Alsop's baton. (Prokofiev often wrote both frenetic scherzo like passages as well as beautiful but longing slow movements that shine. See his ballet scores in particular) I enjoyed this recording a great deal! Some of my personal favorites are the Slatkin, St. Louis, Bernstein, New York and the Ormandy, Philadelphia. Rather than try to compare this recording with any of those (and other) historic chestnuts, I strongly recommend this disc to anyone wanting to hear a really fine orchestra you may not be familiar with as well as to hear for yourself why Marin Alsop is truly one of the country's best with a growing international reputation.

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