Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra have gone from strength to strength with the successive releases in their survey of Prokofiev's symphonies, and their fourth volume looks set to receive more of the critical acclaim that has met previous releases in the cycle.
“This Prokofiev symphony cycle should give people more insight into this masterful and compelling composer. These three rarely performed works are brilliantly orchestrated, filled with emotion and truly compelling.”
This fourth volume in Marin Alsop’s acclaimed Prokofiev symphonic cycle features two of his most viscerally exciting works. Using material salvaged from his opera The Fiery Angel, the Third Symphony was hailed by Serge Koussevitzky at its 1929 première as ‘the best symphony since Tchaikovsky’s Sixth’. Originally commissioned as a ballet by Sergey Dyagilev but rejected as un-danceable, the Scythian Suite has become a popular orchestral showpiece, while Prokofiev retained a lifelong fondness for his dark-hued early symphonic sketch Autumn.
Listen to an extract from Prokofiev's Symphony No. 3: IV. Andante mosso – Allegro moderato
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 in its 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. Born in New York City, Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Her conducting career was launched when, 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. In September 2013, Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London. Marin Alsop biography and discography
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) gave its first concert in 1954, since when it has released more than 60 recordings and has become an inseparable part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture. Since 2008 the orchestra has toured widely throughout the São Paulo region, promoting concerts, workshops and courses in music appreciation for over 250,000 people. To mark its 60th anniversary year in 2014, OSESP gave the Latin-American première of a co-commissioned Saxophone Concerto by John Adams. São Paulo Symphony Orchestra history and discography
Previous releases in Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev cycle
“Here, [Marin Alsop] has managed to raise my opinion of a symphony (No 2) that I tended to find as problematic as Prokofiev and the Parisians did. Iron and steel are in no short supply; what makes Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra reach new heights is the warmth and detail that they bring to the music. There’s a beating heart underlying the motoric rhythms, and vulnerable flesh directly beneath the music’s cold, hard shell.” – International Record Review
“What is most compelling on this Blu-ray audio disc…is Alsop’s Prokofiev Second Symphony…[she] unleashes all the power and energy you could want, and her interpretations of the slower variations are brilliant…one has to declare her Prokofiev Second simply the best version on record.
…the sound reproduction is excellent, perhaps the best in this series so far, and the São Paulo Symphony plays at world class level throughout. In sum, 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.
Highest recommendations!” – Classical Net
“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
“Alsop is at her best in this repertory, and she leads a brilliant performance from the São Paulo Orchestra…audio is superb…rich, full and wide in dynamic range.” – ClassicalCDReview.com
“The sound is glorious…this is a terrific recording that orchestra, conductor, engineers, and record label should be very proud of.” – American Record Guide
“There are a number of competitors to this new recording, but both Naxos’ exciting performance and first-rate surround sonics place it at the head of my current list.” – Audiophile Audition ★★★★★