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 Search Beat > The Music Beat > Classical Music > Featured Composer > Sergei Prokofiev > Orchestral Recommendations


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Prokofiev: Symphonies 3 & 4 / Järvi, Scottish National Orch
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Ensemble: Scottish National Orchestra
Chandos - #8401 / February 28, 1988

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That these symphonies are not more famous than they are simply amazes me. Prokofiev understood the nature of symphonic writing, and after the dainty cuteness of Symphony 1, he was ready to make his own mark. The Symphony 3 (1929) begins with a brash sense of alarm, then becomes quieter, more operatic in nature. And the composer's weird clashing harmonies are throughout the piece. Two versions of the Symphony 4 (1940) exist. This is the original version, which is shorter than the latter 1940...Read more


Prokofiev: Symphony no 5, etc / Järvi, Scottish Natl Orch

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Ensemble: Scottish National Orchestra
Chandos - #8450 / February 28, 1988

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Wow! This is one intense performance of Prokofiev's second most popular symphony (the most popular one is the "Classical" Symphony). The climaxes of the first and third movements ring out with earsplitting violence, which is exactly what the composer intended. Neeme Järvi also adopts rather more urgent tempos than usual in those same movements, which is very welcome--the heaviness is built into the music and doesn't need to be exaggerated. The coupling comprises three of the six...Read more


  Prokofiev: Symphony no 6, Waltzes Suite / Järvi, Scottish NO

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Ensemble: Scottish National Orchestra
Chandos - #8359 / February 1, 1988


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If I may quote from my first review, Neeme Jarvi has "an instinctive grasp and deep understanding of this symphony", and he shapes its detail in as masterly a fashion as he does its architecture as a whole. The Chandos recording in its LP format sounded wonderfully vivid and present, and in CD is even more impressively defined. Indeed, those who know their Gramophone Award-winning record of the Bax Fourth Symphony (CD CHAN8312, 8/84) will know what to expect. The balance is expertly judged with a particularly rich and sonorous bass, while the detail stands out even more realistically. Even if the orchestral playing in itself is not in the same league as the Leningrad Philharmonic for Mravinsky (once available on a mono Artia LP), there is a refreshing commitment here. This is the darkest and most powerful of the Prokofiev symphonies and is not otherwise available on CD. Such is the excellence of this recording that it is unlikely to be challenged, let alone displaced, for a very long time. © Gramophone Magazine


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