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Prokofiev: Symphony No 2, Etc / Järvi, Scottish Natl Orch


Release Date: 10/09/1992 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 8368   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

No one especially loves Prokofiev’s Second Symphony. Even the composer had his doubts. It’s a loud, dissonant, rather obnoxious piece blatantly patterned on Beethoven’s last piano sonata (an allegro followed by a theme and variations finale), which is of course a miracle of subtlety and expressiveness. Nor is it the only such work of the period: Szymanowski’s gnarly Second Symphony also employs the same form. That said, Prokofiev knew what he was doing, and once you accept the work for what it is, you may well find that it contains a fund of distinctive thematic material, imaginatively handled.

Järvi is just the guy for a piece like this, and I say that without a trace of irony. He allows the music to express itself by
Read more playing it for all that it’s worth, without apology, and without the sort of supercilious attitude that says, “Hey, I’m doing a Prokofiev cycle so I guess I have to play this symphony too, even though it’s not worth my time.” Just listen to those air-raid-siren trumpets blasting out the opening measures. Listeners with no patience for such things need not apply. Everyone else is in for one hell of a ride.

The coupling is substantial: a very exciting performance of the First Suite from Romeo and Juliet. Järvi, with the orchestra solidly behind him, hits all of the key points: an amiably clunky Folk Dance, a luscious and atmospheric Balcony Scene, and a hard-driving Death of Tybalt. Indeed, you might say that he drives too hard in this latter bit: the strings are clearly hanging on for dear life, but Järvi is surely right to sacrifice some precision in favor of sheer explosive energy. Of course, there are recordings that offer both sheer explosive energy as well as precision at this point (Muti’s), but that’s another story.

The sonics are a touch reverberant, and that makes the symphony sound even bigger and louder than you might have imagined possible, especially in the noisier variations in the finale–but I’m not complaining, and neither will you.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, Op. 64a by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D minor, Op. 40 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Paris, France 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Allegro ben articolato
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Theme
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 1
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 2
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 3
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 4
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 5
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: Variation 6 and Theme
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: I. Folk Dance
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: II. Scene
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: III. Madrigal
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: IV. Minuet
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: V. Masks
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: VI. Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis: VII. Death of Tybalt

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