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Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, May 2018

Alsop takes a relaxed approach, somewhat slower than expected, revelling in the lyricism and beauties of the score, but gathers momentum in the last movement with an inimitable, energetic yet graceful style that I had the good fortune to witness when I last saw her with the TSO. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, April 2018

…[Alsop’s Seventh Symphony] is rather splendidly played and interpreted. The lyricism in the first movement comes across with both spirit and warmth, the big alternate theme soaring so beautifully to the skies and seeming to arrive at paradise. Apart from the coda, the second movement is a delightful gem—part fantasy, part waltz, and part mischief. The third movement is very well phrased, with centrist to slightly brisk tempos, which work well as some of Prokofiev’s gentler, sweeter music might otherwise take on a slightly saccharine character. The finale, even with the somewhat laggardly march tempo, comes across most effectively: the return of the first movement theme is emotionally powerful here, crowning this work with that seemingly ambivalent but somehow inevitable sense of both triumph and sadness. Alsop uses the quiet original ending, but does provide the added alternate ending on a separate track. Overall, her Seventh is one of the better accounts of the work, though Tennstedt, Kitayenko, Gaffigan are probably to be preferred. Still, in most respects this one can stand higher than most and nearly with the best. I should mention that the orchestra plays splendidly throughout even when they’re pushed hard in the faster music.

As for the other works here the Lieutenant Kijé Suite, one of the most popular compositions of Prokofiev, gets a very good performance…

The March and Scherzo from The Love for Three Oranges also receive excellent performances… © 2018 Classical Net Read complete review



Stephen Wright
American Record Guide, March 2018

Alsop’s 7 is sweetly simple and guileless, diaphanous and childlike. Prokofieff wrote it for a youth orchestra, keeping textures lean and spare. Its exposed string and woodwind passages give it the character of a concerto for orchestra—everyone gets some time in the spotlight. Alsop presents both endings to the symphony, first the resigned morendo fadeout, followed at once by the gleeful reprise of the finale’s opening melody. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, February 2018

I enjoyed Alsop’s reading of the Seventh Symphony. The often bitter-sweet, lyrical first movement is quite relaxed in her hands.

In the second movement Marin Alsop achieves a pleasing lilt in the waltz material. Prokofiev’s orchestral primary colours come out well. …The Brazilian account of the short slow movement is very nicely done: Alsop and her players make the music sound gently touching.

Ms Alsop makes the finale scamper along to fine effect and when Prokofiev relaxes the pace, the performance is equally convincing.

The São Paulo Symphony plays well throughout the programme… © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, January 2018

Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev Symphony cycle ends, fittingly, with a graceful and winning performance of the uncomplicated Seventh Symphony, featuring light textures, ear-catching woodwind detail in the second movement waltz, and an aptly chipper finale. …it’s a fine interpretation in what shapes up to be yet another variable Prokofiev series whose lows (Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6) may turn out for many listeners to be more noteworthy than its highs (the rest). © 2018 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



David Gutman
Gramophone, January 2018

…the conductor does have her own ideas about the Seventh, keeping its first movement on a tighter rein than those recent recordings that seek to make the music bigger or more explicitly Russian, Valery Gergiev’s being the broadest of all. Alsop and her production team engineer an interesting focus on countermelodies—the effect is otherwise pleasantly recessed rather than immediate… © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, January 2018

…this release is probably the strongest in Alsop’s entire cycle. There’s verve and animation to lift mediocre inspiration to a higher level of enjoyment. Definitely recommended in the hope that we get more CDs from the Alsop-São Paulo partnership, which appears to be a happy success. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review




Infodad.com, December 2017

[Alsop] is frequently excellent when conducting modern works, and the 20th century is something of a specialty for her; and the result in this case is one of the best discs in her Prokofiev cycle—which this release completes. Alsop is a little light on the bitter and sarcastic elements of the symphony, but she gives full rein to its warmth, nostalgia and frequently crepuscular sound. The musicians play very well indeed for her, and if their sectional balance is not quite as good as that of the Philharmonia Orchestra, it is certainly fine; furthermore, when Alsop calls for genuine full-orchestra sound at the symphony’s climaxes, she invariably gets it—with the result being highly dramatic and heartfelt. © 2017 Infodad.com Read complete review



Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, November 2017

Alsop captures the lyrical aspects of the work really well. I find her more successful than Valery Gergiev with the London Symphony… His strengths lay in projecting the power of the bigger symphonies, namely the Fifth and Sixth, which are the weaker segments in Alsop’s cycle. Alsop also has the advantage of a superior recording in the acoustically friendlier Sala São Paulo. The orchestra is superb throughout, but special mention should be made of the woodwinds that have notable solos in the work. While her tempos are mainly in the norm, she varies them more than Gergiev. The most noticeable case is the second movement, where he adopts a faster tempo from the beginning and maintains it. Alsop, on the other hand, has a slower initial phrase that borders on the pedantic and then speeds up a bit, though she’s generally slower in this movement. However near the end she really lets go. It’s very exciting this way, but one could justifiably argue that it’s too fast and out of character with what precedes it. Her tempos for the first and third movements are more flowing than Gergiev’s, and the warmth she brings to the Romantic themes is emotionally satisfying without being overly intense. Like Gergiev, Alsop prefers the original, reflective ending of the finale… © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2017

The final volume in Marin Alsop’s highly acclaimed complete cycle of Prokofiev’s Symphonies features his last work in a genre in which he was never really at ease. He was by nature a tunesmith who was most at home when creating works in short-term effects that reflected his uneasy career, his life taking him first to the United States where he enjoyed some early success as a pianist and composer, but it was soon to wither, and relocating to Paris he fell in love with the most avant-garde music that he experienced there. His greatest mistake came with his return to his native Russia in 1936, where he expected to be welcomed, but instead found himself required to write populist music to please the Communist regime. Even his Seventh and last symphony did not please, and he was obliged to change the ending to one of happiness and a bright future. Here, Alsop performs it as originally intended, with a finale that reflects sadness, but then on a separate track adds those additional unwanted bars. The disc is completed by two of his most popular orchestral works—the interludes from his opera, The Love for Three Oranges, and the suite taken from his film music to Lieutenant Kije. I have had some reservations as we have progressed through the cycle, as I have with every other complete recording, but this disc I really love. For a start she does not add to what is there, as do most others, particularly in the oft used and over-indulgent changes of tempo in the second movement, so that when she takes the brake off at the conclusion it really flies headlong. The repose she brings to the third movement then contrasts well with the outgoing and often rumbustious finale. In sum, this is one of the most desirable Sevenths on disc. The São Paulo orchestra are in good shape, and continue with a display of their refined tonal quality through the remainder of the disc, the creamy double-bass solo at the opening of the Romance in the Kijé Suite worthy of special mention. Commendable inner detail, but play the disc at a very high volume to bring it to life. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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