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Written in 1944, Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony is one of his greatest and most complete symphonic statements. At its première he himself called it “a symphony of the grandeur of the human spirit”. The first movement couples considerable strength with unexpected yet highly characteristic twists of melody. After a violent scherzo followed by a slow movement of sustained lyricism, with a fiercely dramatic middle section, the finale blazes with barely suppressed passion. The Year 1941 is another wartime work, a symphonic suite written in response to the German invasion of the Soviet Union. This is the first volume of a complete cycle of the Prokofiev Symphonies with the OSESP and Marin Alsop, the orchestra’s newly appointed Principal Conductor.
Sergey Prokofiev: The Year 1941, Op. 90
I. In the Struggle
II. In the Night
III. For the Brotherhood of Man
Sergey Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100
II. Allegro marcato
IV. Allegro giocoso
“the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and its conductor Marin Alsop held my attention as never before...The Fifth Symphony comes up trumps in a dramatic yet highly polished performance...I was particularly impressed by how Alsop brings out the first movement's characteristic power with a purposefulness that prevents it from seeming merely ponderous...Altogether, this first volume of Prokofiev is an outstanding achievement.”
“I don't know if Alsop thinks this is great music, but she conducts as if it is...[Her] first movement has plenty of sweep...Of drama there is no shortage either...there's a sincerity here that keeps the music from seeming merely overbearing...this is one of the most gorgeously engineered orchestra CDs to come my way in some time...Even if you have several Prokofiev Fifths, you need to make room for this one.”
13th July 2012
“The performance of the symphony is one of considerable power, more expansive than some but conceived with a judicious balance between emotional weight and structural cohesion...the São Paulo has a great deal to offer in terms of energy, atmosphere, humanity and also technical accomplishment in those passages (notably in the finale) where Prokofiev taxed an orchestra’s togetherness.”
27th July 2012
“Alsop, the Sao Paolo Symphony’s new principal conductor, directs a perfectly serviceable account, advertising a disciplined but slightly colourless ensemble.”
“this is the best recording of [The Year 1941] that I have heard...Alsop’s performance should go some way towards bringing it to the public’s attention. She injects the first movement with sufficient drama and the second movement - my favorite of the three - is poignant and touching. The orchestra sounds world class both here and in the symphony.”
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