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Ian Julier
International Record Review, January 2014

Conductor and orchestra both shine with the excitement of a special relationship in the ascendant. Not content just to consolidate the noteworthy concentration in their recording of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony released by Naxos last year(nominated by Ramond Tuttle as Outstanding in June 2012), there’s now a more palpable sense of discovery to enhance the enterprise. © 2014 International Record Review



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, January 2014

Marin Alsop and the Symphony Orchestra of São Paolo, Brazil give us performances of two important works by Sergei Prokofiev that reveal why they were important steps toward his future career. More than that, they show the significance of dance in everything the composer did with the orchestra.

Most important as far as a successful performance of an improved but still imperfect work, is the attention Marin Alsop and the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra give to the vital matter of rhythm. No other modern composer recalled the rhythms of the dance in his symphonies as did Prokofiev. We heard it in the Gavotte moment of his “Classical” Symphony, and we hear it again in numerous places in the Fourth, enhancing the attractiveness and character of the work. © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review




Lewis Whittington
ConcertoNet.com, December 2013

…the orchestra brings clean interpretive character to the ballet score and symphonically tells the story. Maestro Alsop keeps the theatrical intensity of the orchestral narrative arc in the ballet score; the character of the music pulses with theatricality. Admirably Maestro Alsop doesn’t lean on the more sonic and cinematic accents, which happens frequently with Prokofiev’s ballet music. By virtue of these qualities, this recording makes me want to hear more from Alsop and SPSO. © 2013 ConcertoNet.com Read complete review



Film Music: The Neglected Art, December 2013

The recording…is quite neutral so it allows the true color of the instruments to come through; I’ve never heard a finer wind section. There is no shrilly sound or over volume brass. Each note can be heard in crystal clarity. Prokofiev isn’t the easiest composer to play but you certainly won’t get that impression from this symphony. Alsop certainly knows this material and I look forward to more. Recommended. © 2013 Film Music: A Neglected Art Read complete review



Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2013

This account of a somewhat problematic symphony is a joy from beginning to end.

…the São Paulo Symphony plays its heart out for Alsop.

If the remainder of [Marin Alsop’s] series is on this level, it will be very good, indeed. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



BBC Music Magazine, December 2013

Following their excellent recording of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony now present a compelling version of his less celebrated Fourth. © BBC Music Magazine




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, November 2013

…this new installment is both intelligently programmed and very well played and conducted.

Alsop does a fine job characterizing the abundance of motoric material in the ballet, and she makes the lyrical moments in the symphony sound genuinely memorable. The orchestra plays very well throughout, and the sonics are naturally vivid… A fine disc. © ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2013

Marin Alsop conducts the Sao Paulo Symphony in this well conceived disk…Alsop and the Sao Paulo organization come up with a beautiful, thoroughly idiomatic reading of the two works represented here.

…the Fourth is a beautiful work in every way, fully worthy of attention for its Prokofievian charms, its nearly heartbreaking bitter-sweet melodies, its dance-like rhythmic insistence, its ravishing orchestration. The Prodigal Son is a full ballet that the symphony is based upon, so what is true of one is perforce true of the other in slightly different ways.

Alsop and the Sao Paulo Symphony give performances very faithful to Prokofiev’s vision. Detailed, both lyrical and hard-edged when needed, playful in an ambiguously sarcastic sort of way, as good as any performance I have heard.

You can do no better than these readings. Alsop knows her Prokofiev and the Sao Paulo outfit comes through with a beautiful and energetic performance that leaves little to be desired. Considering also the Naxos price, you can not do wrong with this one! Seminal Prokofiev, played with all the attention to detail, passion and fire you could want! © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Infodad.com, November 2013

The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is a well-balanced one, a fact that serves this music well. The strings are particularly good, with bite and intensity entirely appropriate for Prokofiev…Alsop is now principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony, and while she has clearly inherited a fine orchestra, her Prokofiev CDs…show that she has begun making her own mark on the players. This well-recorded Naxos CD shows how carefully she can explore works that engage her and how well she can handle both their broad sweep and the details of their individual sections. The orchestra’s sound…is quite fine, and Alsop’s measured and well-balanced performances show her to be a considerable force in interpreting Prokofiev’s music. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2013

Following on their critically acclaimed recording of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, Marin Alsop and the Sao Paulo orchestra now add a stunningly brilliant Fourth. Alsop’s outer movements have tremendous impact, her tempos seem just right, and she keeps the slow movement pressing forward with suitable urgency. Having a few years ago compared all of the available versions, I would commend this to you as the top recommendation. In three scenes containing ten dances, [L’enfant prodigue] is often dramatic and packed full of highly memorable melodic material and unusual sonorities. Again superb playing, the recording admirable detailed while capturing the very wide dynamic range. A top recommended release. © David’s Review Corner






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12:53:53 AM, 30 December 2014
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