Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 10
Sound Quality: 10
This is a perfect disc. Andrew Litton’s Prokofiev symphonies have been inconsistent so far, ranging from an excellent Sixth to a ho-hum Fifth. Here absolutely everything goes right. The revised, enlarged version of the Fourth Symphony can sound bloated and too long for its material. This performance, by contrast, has passion, color, and drive aplenty. Especially in the outer movements, you’d never know that the leaner, meaner first version exists, and no praise can be higher than that.
The Seventh has always been, for me at least, a better work than many commentators allow. It contains, for example, one of Prokofiev’s best lyrical melodies in its first movement and finale. The waltz-like scherzo is wholly delightful, the slow third movement touching. Prokofiev often indulges a deliberate simplicity, and Litton takes him at his word, never for a moment lapsing into artifice or affectation.
The finale, which we get to hear twice complete, once with each of its endings, is particularly breezy and exhilarating. Through it all the Bergen Philharmonic plays gorgeously, and the SACD sonics are state-of-the-art. A wonderful release.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: None for this coupling
- PROKOFIEV, SERGEI:Symphonies Nos. 4 (1947) and 7