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Erik Levi
BBC Music Magazine, September 2017

Performance (Symphony) :
Performance (Waltz Suite):
Recording:

…the recording balance is outstanding and the playing of the São Paolo Symphony is exceptionally fine, boasting some stunning string articulation in the tricky passages at the opening of the Finale and warmly nuanced horns in the middle of the Largo.

Alsop seems far better attuned to the exhilarating dance rhythms of the Waltz Suite, an ingenious and convincing sequence of movements culled from the ballet Cinderella, the opera War and Peace and the film music to Lermontov. Both conductor and orchestra are much more in their element here, savouring Prokofiev’s instantly memorable melodies and relishing the many opportunities to highlight his piquant modulations and startling orchestration. © 2017 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, January 2017

…Alsop demonstrates a very strong affinity for Prokofiev’s means of musical communication in [Symphony No. 6], which is achieved mainly through the use of harmonic dissonance, irregular rhythmic patterns, and above all, striking orchestral effects. Alsop’s reading of the score and the São Paulo orchestra’s brilliant execution combine to produce a powerful statement.

Alsop and her São Paulo players dance dangerously and flirtatiously on that fine line between dream and nightmare that Prokofiev intertwined in [Waltz Suite]. Very strongly recommended to all, and especially to those who have already acquired the previous volumes in this cycle. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, January 2017

Alsop’s reliable approach to the scores has always been skillful, but she doesn’t emotionally connect to the music the way Russian conductors do through innate instinct absorbed from the native musical culture.

[Her] interpretation of the Prokofiev Sixth is no exception, although there are moments of surprising intensity. Here she had an opportunity to validate claims that this score is the equal of the Fifth Symphony.

Alsop’s reading is pleasant enough, and the orchestra sounds elegant. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, November 2016

One thing I’ve noticed about Alsop’s cycle is that the orchestra seems to be getting better with each performance. Whether that’s because they were less familiar with Prokofiev’s rather individual style at the outset and have gradually grown accustomed to it or that they, under Alsop’s guidance, are simply getting better, I can’t say. © 2016 Classical Net Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2016

…the Symphony No. 6 (1945–47), as we can hear beautifully performed by Marin Alsop and the Sao Paulo Symphony…is one of Prokofiev’s most characteristic works, touchingly bitter-sweet, filled with that thematic brilliance of line that was so originally Prokofiev’s, stirring, melancholy, agitated and in the end filled with a lyric somberness especially poignant.

In the hands of Alsop and Sao Paulo you hear it as a major work, complete, ravishing.

An added bonus is Prokofiev’s “Waltz Suite,” a marvelous collation of his ambiguous portrayal of waltz situations in dramatic denouements from “Cinderella,” “War and Peace” and “Lermontov.” It is Prokofiev at his best and Alsop finds just the right balance between the beautiful and the grotesque.

So this is a very worthy volume—Prokofiev in sublimity and despair, Alsop encouraging her orchestral colleagues to give performances that rival the very best. Outstanding! © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, November 2016

…well played and well recorded, and has had some impressive releases.

The Largo is a tough piece to pull off, and this performance holds together well, …the finale comes off best: swift and dashing… © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2016

…Marin Alsop leads a performance that is full of vitality. I think she does the opening minutes of this movement really well with the subsidiary detail underneath the scampering main theme registering well. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Erik Levi
BBC Music Magazine, October 2016

Symphony Performance:
Waltz Suite
Performance:
Recording:

…the recording balance is outstanding and the playing of the Sao Paolo Symphony is exceptionally fine, boasting some stunning string articulation in the tricky passages at the opening of the Finale and warmly nuanced horns in the middle of the Largo.

Alsop seems far better attuned to the exhilarating dance rhythms of the Waltz Suite, an ingenious and convincing sequence of movements culled from the ballet Cinderella, the opera War and Peace and the film music to Lermontov. Both conductor and orchestra are much more in their element here, savouring Prokofiev’s instantly memorable melodies and relishing the many opportunities to highlight his piquant modulations and startling orchestration. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, September 2016

The performance here by Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is excellent, with strong rhythmic profiles that emphasize the deeper currents in the music. …this entry in Alsop’s Prokofiev series is a recommended addition to collections, beautifully recorded on the orchestra’s home ground. © 2016 AllMusic.com Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2016

Marin Alsop presents a charming version of Prokofiev’s Waltz Suite. © 2016 Pizzicato



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, September 2016

Marin Alsop continues to impress. Her Baltimore Symphony Naxos recordings of symphonic works of Dvorák are among the best, and the same can be said of her Prokofiev symphony series with the São Paulo Orchestra. Alsop has been Chief Conductor of this superb orchestra since 2011, and obviously they have remarkable rapport. © 2016 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Gavin Engelbrecht
The Northern Echo, August 2016

Marin Alsop, conducting the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, conveys the full power of this work. It is coupled with the Waltz Suite, featuring themes both capricious and sensuous, with recycled material from earlier scores creating a quasi-symphonic entity. Highly recommended. © 2016 The Northern Echo



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), August 2016

This fifth volume of Prokofiev’s complete symphonies joins a series of acclaimed recordings from the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra with its music director Marin Alsop. Prokofiev started work on his Sixth Symphony in 1945 and, unlike the victorious mood of the Fifth, it reveals a darker response to war. The Waltz Suite recycles material from earlier scores. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)



Tim Smith
The Baltimore Sun, August 2016

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Marin Alsop, here leading her other ensemble, Brazil’s well-regarded Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, misses some opportunities to unleash the bold force of the Sixth. But her keen rhythmic sense assures a taut performance that finds the orchestra in crackling form. The disc also offers a vibrantly expressive account of the delectable Waltz Suite. © 2016 The Baltimore Sun Read complete review



Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk, August 2016

The São Paulo players have the music’s measure: percussion and winds are ideally present, the movement’s stark climax…both thrilling and terrifying.

Each is a jewel, …they’re played with some style, and Naxos’s production values are commendable. © 2016 The Arts Desk Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2016

We have now reached the penultimate disc in Marin Alsop’s highly acclaimed cycle of Prokofiev symphonies with his Sixth and most technically demanding score. Completed in 1947 it was at once a direct response to the Second World War and to the quality of life in Russia. It was a mood that caused it to be condemned by the Soviet authorities, though the composer regarded it as one of his finest scores, a description that it now enjoys. As you will find on so many discs, it can be looked upon as an outgoing orchestral showpiece, particularly in those performances emanating from Russian conductors. The jagged opening sets the scene for Alsop’s view of the score, being less acidic and aggressive than we normally hear, while throughout the movement she seeks to shape a cohesive whole rather than a series of highly coloured moments. That feeling she takes into the second movement where Prokofiev borrows from the drama of his ballet Romeo and Juliet, the second thematic subject here being smooth and warm. The final Vivace is taken very quickly, the mood being ‘fleet of foot’ rather than overtly powerful, inner orchestral detail revealed in the transparent sound. Having recently heard Valery Gergiev blaze his way through the score, Alsop offers a most interesting alternative view. Her disc also includes the Waltz Suite, a compilation made by Prokofiev of six waltzes that appear in his opera, War and Peace; the ballet, Cinderella, and the film Lermontov. They could well have been written at the same time, and when combined offer a delicious score. Throughout the São Paulo Symphony is in splendid form, the vibrancy and colours of the waltzes perfectly captured in a sharply edged sound. © 2016 David’s Review Corner




Stephen Pritchard
The Guardian, July 2016

Alsop and her players handle the great climactic moments with elan… © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review





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