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David Hurwitz, March 2016

…The Enemy God and the Dance of the Spirits of Darkness finds the orchestra on impressive form, especially as Alsop makes sure that the brass section doesn’t fake it. All in all this is a very fine effort, and certainly worth a listen for the Third Symphony particularly. © 2016 Read complete review

George Dorris
Ballet Review, March 2016

While it’s correct to say that Prokofiev’s Third Symphony develops themes from his then-unproduced opera, The Fiery Angel, it moves quite differently. The powerful opening and closing movements suggest the frantic behavior of the opera’s heroine and the somber Andante offers a dark response broken by the nervous scampering of the Allegretto agi tato. All of this comes through effectively in Marin Alsop’s reading with her excellent São Paulo orchestra as she continues her cycle of the symphonies. © 2016 Ballet Review

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, January 2016

PROKOFIEV, S.: Symphony No. 3 / Scythian Suite / Autumnal Sketch (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Alsop) 8.573452
PROKOFIEV, S.: Symphony No. 3 / Scythian Suite / Autumnal Sketch (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Alsop) (Blu-ray Audio) NBD0047

Breathtaking—both the performances and the sound. I listened to the Blu-ray and was bowled over by the openness and the lack of “digital fatigue” from listening beginning to end. Along with everything else Naxos is now also an audiophile label! © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2015

…Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, true to form with the other performances in the complete symphonic cycle thus far, give us a very balanced and nuance reading of the pieces. They can be brash when called upon, yes, but also can handle the more subdued, lyrical passages with care and feeling. Really, of course, both sides are essential in understanding the Prokofiev of this period.

Beautifully bold Prokofiev, played with intelligence and passion! No need to hesitate, especially at the Naxos price. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

David Gutman
Gramophone, June 2015

[Marin Alsop] gets unfailingly good string‑playing, often more sensitively nuanced than that of her rivals… © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Blair Sanderson, May 2015

Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra deliver the Third and the Scythian Suite with powerful, incisive rhythms and volatile dynamics, which makes for exciting listening, while their performance of Autumn offers smoother gradations of textures and a gentler feeling. Naxos provides adequate reproduction with good details and clear textures… © 2015 Read complete review, May 2015

Alsop is a somewhat mercurial conductor…when she finds a work challenging, as is clearly the case here, she extracts excellent playing from an orchestra and shows genuine insight into the music. The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is notably strong in the lower strings—the cello section is excellent—and handles percussion particularly well. …the musicians give their all to this music, and the result is involving and even exhilarating. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2015

PROKOFIEV, S.: Symphony No. 3 / Scythian Suite / Autumnal Sketch (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Alsop) 8.573452
PROKOFIEV, S.: Symphony No. 3 / Scythian Suite / Autumnal Sketch (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Alsop) (Blu-ray Audio) NBD0047

Prokofiev’s ballet, Ala et Lolly, was commissioned by Sergey Diaghilev for the Ballet Russes as a response to the success of Stravinsky’s brutal Le Sacre du Printemps. Having been deemed impossible for dancing, the composer set about rescuing from the score the four movement Scythian Suite, organised as a symphony with a scherzo and slow movement surrounded by two hard hitting outer ‘dances’. Prokofiev obviously had seen a need in the ballet to shock his public to an even greater extent than Stravinsky, and some years ago I heard a performance with Günther Herbig conducting by the BBC Philharmonic where the dynamics of the opening movement took it to the point of audible pain, and you knew the effect Prokofiev had hoped to achieve. It would certainly have not been possible at Alsop’s fast tempo, the São Paulo orchestra strutting its technical brilliance in its ability to play it at such a hectic speed. Past that point we have a well shaped account, the jerky final dance characterised to good effect. Another rescuing act gave rise to the Third Symphony, recycling music from his opera, The Fiery Angel. We are still in Prokofiev’s provocative Paris era, the symphony, in the years that have followed, having achieved rather less acclaim than the opera. Here Alsop spares us none of the rough edges in the score as it becomes strident and violent, timpani hammering their way through the finale as strings scream and woodwind screech. I think I have heard every version in the LP & CD era and have reviewed most, and this would be my top choice. Sandwiched between the two works we have the more peaceful sounds of Autumn, a work begun in the composer’s nineteenth year. As with this the other discs in this symphony cycle, the sound is stunning. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Geoffrey Norris
Daily Telegraph (UK), April 2015

…Alsop has the measure of the symphony’s structure, dramatic pacing and emotional content, drawing a bright sound from the São Paulo players, goading them into firm rhythmic propulsion and drawing out rich strands of string sound seasoned with the acerbic harmonies and instrumental clashes that lend the symphony such a powerful impulse. © 2015 Daily Telegraph (UK) Read complete review

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