“Marin Alsop is a shooting star in the firmament of international conductors.” - Penguin Guide
“Marin Alsop is an inspiring and distinguished artist who is also a role model for the 21st-century musician.”
- Royal Philharmonic Society
Marin Alsop talks about
the Last Night of the Proms
In September 2013, Naxos Artist Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, returning in 2015 to make her second distinguished appearance on the podium for that world-famous event. In this year's Proms, Marin directs three concerts (Nos. 51, 52 and 74) with widely contrasting repertoire that bespeaks her versatility – from Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances to Brazilian jazz to Verdi's Requiem.
This month also sees the latest release in her superb Prokofiev Symphony cycle – the Sixth Symphony, and its dark response to war – plus three world première recordings of works by the 2012 Pulitzer Prize award-winning composer, Kevin Puts.
Prokofiev started work on his Sixth Symphony in 1945 and, unlike the victorious mood of the Fifth (Naxos 8.573029) it reveals a darker response to war and its consequences. The work was condemned by the ‘Zhdanov decree’ but composer and critics regarded the symphony highly, the noble yet anguished threnody of its central Largo balanced by the painful violence of the outer movements. The work’s ending has been described as “one of the most shattering in the repertoire”. With themes both capricious and sensuous, the Waltz Suite recycles material from earlier scores to create a remarkably effective quasi-symphonic entity.
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 6:
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, Kevin Puts now stands in the forefront of contemporary American composers. His powerfully conceived SymphonyNo. 2 is a musical illustration of the events of 9/11 and traces a movement from unsuspecting bliss and rhapsody through violent upheaval to a reflective epilogue that contains both uncertainty and hope. Possibly inspired by thoughts of the Mississippi, River’sRush employs novel harmonies, while elegant transparency distinguishes the refined beauty of the Flute Concerto.
Listen to an extract from Flute Concerto:
III. Very fast, with tremendous energy
About the Artists
Marin Alsop took up the post of principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in 2012 and became music director in July 2013. She continues to steer the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and education and outreach activities. Alsop led the orchestra on a European tour in 2012, with acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms in London and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1989, she was a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and, in the same year, was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein.
Since its first concert in 1954, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) has developed into an ensemble widely recognised for its excellence. Having released more than 60 recordings, the orchestra has become an inseparable part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture, promoting a deep cultural and social transformation. Besides touring throughout Latin America, the United States, Europe and Brazil, since 2008 the group has toured widely throughout the São Paulo countryside, promoting concerts, workshops, and courses in music appreciation for over 250,000 people.
Previous releases in Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev symphony cycle
NBD0044 [Blu-ray Audio]
Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
Dreams, Op. 6 São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
“[The] performance of the Symphony No. 2 is most impressive and memorable for its shattering sonorities and spine-tingling energy.”
“This is an indispensable disc for the Prokofiev enthusiast and a highly attractive recording for most listeners with an interest in early 20th century orchestral music.”
– Classical Net
NBD0038 [Blu-ray Audio]
Symphony No. 4
The Prodigal Son São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
“The orchestra plays very well throughout, and the sonics are naturally vivid”
“The hi-res surround reproduction of the audio-only Blu-ray is superb”
– Audiophile Audition ★★★★★
NBD0047 [Blu-ray Audio]
Symphony No. 3
Scythian Suite • Autumn São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
“Breathtaking—both the performances and the sound.”
– American Record Guide
“[Marin Alsop] gets unfailingly good string-playing, often more sensitively nuanced than that of her rivals…”
NBD0031 [Blu-ray Audio]
Symphony No. 5
The Year 1941 São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
“The Fifth Symphony comes up trumps in a dramatic yet highly polished performance.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★
“The São Paolo ensemble sounds world class, and conductor Alsop gives us an interpretation that avoids almost every pitfall that can derail a performance.”
– American Record Guide