“Working in depth on the Prokofiev symphonies has been a wonderful revelation for me. His mastery of the orchestra; his harmonic innovation; his blending of past and future; his propulsive rhythmic complexity; and his innate poetry are inspirational. Experiencing the range of these symphonies – from the Haydn-esque “Classical”, through the brutality of the industrialized age in his Second Symphony, to the sophisticated recitative qualities in his later symphonies – is an unparalleled journey. These works are a tour de force for any orchestra: the technical, rhythmic and coloristic demands have brought out the best from the musicians of the São Paulo Symphony, and I am incredibly proud to have recorded this cycle with them.”
Prokofiev had written two symphonies as a student but his first numbered work in the genre was the Classical Symphony, completed in 1917. This evokes, melodically though not necessarily harmonically, the world of Haydn and Mozart, and it has remained one of his most popular works. The Second Symphony, by contrast, is a work of ‘iron and steel’ (in the composer’s words), a symphony of conscious modernity and visceral power. Dreams, a ‘symphonic tableau’, reveals the potent, early influence on Prokofiev of Scriabin. Of Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra’s recording of the Fourth Symphony and The Prodigal Son [8.573186], International Record Review wrote: ‘Conductor and orchestra both shine with the excitement of a special relationship in the ascendant’.
Listen to an extract from Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 2 I. Allegro ben articolato
Watch the video trailer for this new release, which also contains information about Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra's previous releases in this series.
About the Artists
Marin Alsop is Music Director of both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. She led the latter on a European tour in 2012, with acclaimed performances both at the BBC Proms and at the Concertgebouw. In September 2013, Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall. Her extensive Naxos discography includes a notable set of Brahms symphonies, a Dvořák series and John Adams’ opera Nixon in China.
Since its first concert in 1954, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra has released more than 60 albums and has become an inseparable part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture. In addition to its concert tours throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe, the group has made many appearances in the local São Paulo area, promoting concerts, workshops and courses in music appreciation for over 170,000 people.