- Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100
- The Year 1941, suite for orchestra, Op. 90
Beyond all argument, Prokofiev's "Symphony No. 5, Op. 10," is his biggest, his grandest, and his greatest symphony, a massive and monumental work that celebrates the triumph of all that is decent and virtuous over all that is depraved and immoral. But while Prokofiev's symphonic suite "The Year 1941, Op. 90," is perhaps not his loudest and dumbest symphonic work, it is as bathetic, as bombastic, and as banal as the "Symphony No. 5" is good, decent, and virtuous. The great thing about this disc is that both works are on it and both works get the best possible performances from Theodore Kuchar and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. In the case of the "Symphony No. 5," their performance is as massive and monumental as the work itself, with a clarity, strength, and optimism that is positively overwhelming. In the case of "The Year 1941," their performance is, fortunately, nowhere near as bathetic and banal as the work itself, but there isn't much they can do about the bombast that is unfortunately built into the music. But with Naxos' superb recording, even the bombast sounds as musical as it ever will and with Kuchar and the Ukraine's performance, even the music sounds as good as it ever will.