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Prokofiev: The Complete Symphonies / Gergiev, London SO


Release Date: 05/16/2006 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 000632902   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 4 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hefty, raw orchestral playing and some of the finest Prokofiev on disc

In Shostakovich’s anniversary year it is as well to be reminded of the symphonic legacy of Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev, his senior colleague and sometime rival. David Nice’s heavyweight booklet-notes seem aimed at making of Prokofiev a Shostakovich manqué. But the composer’s less caring personality, lack of social and political engagement and frequent failure to consider what a symphony might be (beyond a mould to be filled with wonderful tunes and short-term effects) need not alter the fact that there is some tremendous music here which deserves to be on every collector’s shelf. For all its protean variety it’s an idiom that responds well,
Read more perhaps better than Shostakovich’s, to Valery Gergiev’s extrovert, sometimes brusque approach. If that sounds like criticism, I should say at once that the new performances of the Second, Sixth and Seventh are probably the finest on CD. While the Third packs a supercharged punch, it may be found too raw and driven for its subtleties to register. The familiar Classical No 1 gets the most destabilising treatment with a stodgy opening movement and a whirlwind finale. The cycle was taped live during Gergiev’s Barbican series in May 2004 and emerges now not on the orchestra’s own label but in Philips livery. Given the venue’s acoustic problems, sound-quality is better than one dared hope – bold, immediate and lacking only the last ounce of depth and allure. As those who attended will recall, the maestro directed with a toothpick and a gestural armoury all his own. Whatever the difficulties, the players deliver the goods with a hefty, if not overly refined, sonority we shall doubtless be hearing more of in the future. A pity that there was no space for the optimistic final flourish Prokofiev tacked onto his Seventh Symphony in pursuit of Stalin Prize winnings. Both alternatives were given in concert. That said, there’s enough toughness and disquiet in what has gone before to make its omission feel right. We do get both editions of the Fourth, not always the case in previous recorded intégrales. Any sense of disappointment there may be associated with the music’s relative poverty of invention, though there is more charm in the material than the conducting allows. Swallowed whole as it must be, the set nonetheless confirms Gergiev as Prokofiev’s most ardent contemporary advocate. The visceral thrust and passion of the LSO’s playing knocks the likes of Ozawa’s Berlin Philharmonic into a cocked hat. Strongly recommended.

-- David Gutman, GRAMOPHONE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in D major, Op. 25 "Classical" by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916-1917; Russia 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Barbican Center, London, England (05/01/2004 - 05/02/2004) 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D minor, Op. 40 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/01/2004 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 34 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 3 in C minor, Op. 44 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/01/2004 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 48 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 4 in C major, Op. 112 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USSR 
Date of Recording: 05/06/2004 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 36 Minutes 32 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, Op. 100 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USSR 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 41 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Barbican Center, London, England (05/02/2004 - 05/06/2004) 
6.
Symphony no 6 in E flat minor, Op. 111 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945-1947; USSR 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 40 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Barbican Center, London, England (05/05/2004 - 05/08/2004) 
7.
Symphony no 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  John Alley (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951-1952; USSR 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Barbican Center, London, England (05/05/2004 - 05/08/2004) 
8.
Symphony no 4 in C major, Op. 47 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/02/2004 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Center, London, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Paris, France (1929 - 1930). 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony no 1: IV. Finale: Vivace
Symphony no 7: III. Andante espressivo
Symphony no 4 (revised version): I. Andante - Allegro eroico

Sound Samples

Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25 "Classical Symphony": 1. Allegro
Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25 "Classical Symphony": 2. Larghetto
Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25 "Classical Symphony": 3. Gavotta (Non troppo allegro)
Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25 "Classical Symphony": 4. Finale (Vivace)
Symphony No.4 in C, Op.112 - Revised version: 1. Andante - Allegro eroico
Symphony No.4 in C, Op.112 - Revised version: 2. Andante tranquillo
Symphony No.4 in C, Op.112 - Revised version: 3. Moderato, quasi allegretto
Symphony No.4 in C, Op.112 - Revised version: 4. Allegro risoluto - Andantino - Allegro come prima
Symphony No.2 in D minor, Op.40: 1. Allegro ben articolato
Symphony No.2 in D minor, Op.40: 2. Theme and Variations
Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44: 1. Moderato
Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44: 2. Andante
Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44: 3. Allegro agitato
Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44: 4. Andante mosso

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