This is the first release in a survey of all seven Prokofiev Symphonies from Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Karabits has had access to the Prokofiev family archive and throughout this project there will be quite a few surprises, such as music from the early Symphony in G of 1902 and works such as 'Dreams' Op. 6, 'Autumnal Sketch' Op. 8 and 'Two Poems for orchestra and Women’s Chorus' Op. 7, as well as the 'Sinfonia Concertante' for cello & orchestra. Each CD booklet contains an interview with Karabits in conversation with Prokofiev expert Daniel Jaffé.
The 3rd Symphony makes extensive use of music from the opera 'The Fiery Angel'. It was premiered in 1929 under Pierre Monteux and is vividly colourful, sensual and exciting. The 7th dates from 1952, the year before the composer’s death. Intended as a work for young people, it is beautiful, yet enigmatic and reflective, harking back to the great ballet scores. Prokofiev provided an alternative ‘upbeat’ conventional ending to the symphony at the request of colleagues so as not to provoke criticism from the Soviet authorities. This alternative finale can be heard after the 7th symphony on this CD. Today the work is always performed with the peaceful ‘leave taking’ ending that the composer preferred.
“Karabits has certainly not gone for the most popular – testifies not only to his persuasive command of the idiom but also to the way he has managed to inculcate such an apt-sounding timbre and flair into the Bournemouth orchestra’s manner of playing...Altogether this is a highly auspicious start to what should be a keenly collected series.” The Telegraph, 13th March 2014
“The beauty here is the retrospective Symphony No 7, last of the lot, delivered at exactly the right weight, its black sorrows balanced by tender ironyIn the turbulent drama of the Third...Karabits could have delivered extra blood and guts, but there’s no doubting the orchestra’s present flair in Russian repertoire.” The Times, 14th March 2014 ***
“The rich, dark “Russian” sound and nimble virtuosity he gets from the band are vivid successes of his regime in Bournemouth.” Sunday Times, 30th March 2014
“Karabits argues that the Third has a logic of its own, unrelated to the opera, and maintains his case in a truly terrifying yet detailed performance that precariously balances formal tautness with atrocious emotional intensity. The Seventh, he claims, is "a very tragic work", which is pushing it, though his interpretation is unnervingly bleak.” The Guardian, 11th April 2014 *****
“the Bournemouth Orchestra can hold its head high in the most august company. These two performances are terrific.” MusicWeb International, 9th April 2014
“Two of Prokofiev’s least familiar symphonies...find unexpectedly persuasive advocates in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and its Ukrainian chief conductor Kirill Karabits, who unerringly identifies the composer’s lyrical and acerbic extremes.” Financial Times, 26th April 2014 ****
“Karabits, supported by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's outstandingly responsive playing, gives an utterly compelling account of the Third...Karabits's performance of No. 7, with both its reflective conclusion and the alternative upbeat ending recorded, is if anything even more remarkable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****
“Those who find a ruthless, high-octane manner unpalatable even in music as inescapably OTT as Prokofiev's Third Symphony will welcome Karabits's cooler, more analytical approach...I don't think I have heard this score rendered with greater sophistication than it is in the Lighthouse, Poole...the music emerges refreshed.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014