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David Hurwitz

"This box is a terrific deal. Having had the opportunity to review several of these recordings on initial release, I can say without qualms that after Neeme Jarvi's Chandos benchmarks, this is the best Prokofiev symphony cycle available, and the addition of the concertos combined with the budget price makes for a well-nigh irresistible package. In the symphonies, Theodore Kuchar and his Ukrainian forces acquit themselves with real distinction. The performance of the Fifth Symphony truly is a great one. Coupling the Fourth with The Prodigal Son (from which it derives) is an excellent idea. The Sixth also is one of the better ones available--indeed, there's not a single dud in the lot.

The same holds true of the concertos. Kun-Woo Paik's versions of the piano concertos under Antoni Wit have received a good bit of enthusiastic press, and justly so. They are beautifully played, sensitive performances, as are Tedi Papavrami's fine readings of the violin concertos (plus the Sonata for Solo Violin). Alexander Rudin may not be quite the match for Han-Na Chang on EMI in the Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, but he offers a distinguished effort all the same, and Naxos also includes his excellent rendition of the Concertino for Cello and Orchestra. The sonics vary somewhat given the different venues and artists involved, but they're never less than good. There really is no better basic Prokofiev orchestral music collection available at any price."

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