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Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, March 2015

The sound for these performances is excellent, as is the orchestra, which sounds in excellent shape in the hands of its new music director. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Huntley Dent
Fanfare, March 2015

The tough nut on the program is Symphony No. 2…There is much eloquence and beauty in it, and Alsop has the measure of the score. She’s not afraid to deliver the full migraine headache approach in the first movement, and in the quieter variations of the second movement she conducts with poised serenity. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, March 2015

…I am surprised at the excellence of these performances. I grew up on Koussevitsky’s fleet rendition of the “Classical” Symphony…But this is the most committed and individual reading I know: tight, lyrical, and piquant in that special way which makes every woodwind note count. Textures are beautiful, the energy level just right, and the little hesitations in the Gavotta straight from the dance floor. A stunning reading!

And then we have simply—a stunning (!) Prokofiev Second Symphony…I cannot imagine a more joyously aggressive account than this. …the penetrating brass chords and pounding rhythms manage to be sensually enjoyable. This is the original “short ride in a fast machine.” I can’t imagine it better performed.

Happily, the most mesmerizing spell of all will be cast upon the listeners. I hope there are many. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Raymond S. Tuttle
International Record Review, January 2015

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. © 2015 International Record Review

John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, December 2014

The Classical Symphony…is full of light, dancing rhythms and in the main the music is allowed to speak for itself. The orchestra plays with great polish and tight ensemble in this attractive romp.

…the best part of the CD: a stunning version of the Second Symphony. What a piece this is. The orchestra is inspired into giving the performance of a lifetime in stunning sound…[and they are] in top form and displays great tonal beauty when called for, brilliant execution and panache.

This really is the real deal. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2014

I am especially taken with Marin Alsop’s account of the Symphony No. 2…[she] shows a more “human” side to the symphony than I realized was ever there. It has given me a whole new appreciation of this knotty work.

…the sound here is also superb. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Gutman
Gramophone, December 2014

Alsop’s temperate Classical Symphony has many delightful touches—the finale has just the right kind of fizz and sparkle… © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2014

Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony give us very spirited readings of the works…

…Alsop gives us readings that are…very strong and true to the music. These are versions you can live with and enjoy repeatedly, that have great excitement and charm. The São Paulo Symphony come through again. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, November 2014

Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra give engaging readings of the “ClassicalSymphony and the atmospheric Dreams, but their performance of the Symphony No. 2 is most impressive and memorable for its shattering sonorities and spine-tingling energy. It’s apparent that the musicians really enjoyed this aggressive and volatile piece, and it shows in the first-rate performance. © 2014 Read complete review

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, November 2014

…the composer himself admitted that he didn’t understand the Second [Symphony], but Alsop and her team offer a performance more likely to win friends for it… © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2014

Standing at the extremes of Prokofiev’s seven symphonies, the disc couples one of his most frequently performed works with one of his rarely heard scores. Having flexed his symphonic muscles while still a student, he set himself the task of composing a symphony in the style of Haydn and employing an orchestra of suitable dimensions. Harmonically it had Prokofiev’s fingerprints throughout, and it quickly found a place in the standard concert repertoire. It seems Marin Alsop has used a very small section of the Sao Paulo Symphony, and to further enhance its period credentials the opening Adagio is taken slower than we have become accustomed to. That spacious approach continues through the next two movements with an elegant view of the gavotte. The orchestra’s breaks are eventually released by Alsop, and we speed through an exhilarating finale. It was eight years later that Prokofiev completed the Second symphony, by which time he was living in Paris and had fallen under the spell of the new and aggressive sounds that had given Stravinsky so much notoriety with Le Sacre du Printemps. He wanted to be part of that scene, the savage opening setting a hard-hitting scenario, with the following theme and six variations somewhat reducing the work’s temperature only to return to the mood of the opening in a noisy finale. Its 1925 premiere was an abject audience failure and rejected by critics, the work only receiving recognition in recent times. Dreams, written when he was nineteen, and in the style of Scriabin, had been an equal failure, though it is an evocation piece of considerable beauty. Throughout the disc the orchestral playing is quite superb, and it most certainly provides my top recommendation for the Second Symphony in spectacular wide range dynamic sound. © 2014 David’s Review Corner, October 2014

The third Naxos release in this series…[shows] Alsop’s considerable strength in the more-modernistic elements of Prokofiev’s music and for giving the orchestra a chance to show off its fine sectional balance. Symphony No. 1, the “Classical,” is bright, even ebullient here, with Alsop and the ensemble seeming to have genuine fun with most of the work…[In] Symphony No. 2…Alsop seems quite comfortable with it, pulling great gouts of sound from the orchestra…It is a very effective performance… © 2014 Read complete review

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, October 2014


Alsop’s survey of the Prokofiev symphonies here are worth noting. The pairing in this particular release may go a long way for some to consider exploring some of the composer’s later symphonic essays. The Sao Paulo players seem to respond well to the modernistic style here… © 2014 Cinemusical Read complete review

David Hurwitz, October 2014

Without minimizing the [Second] music’s violent energy, Alsop plays the piece with a vivid sense of its long melodic lines. © 2014 Read complete review

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