Sergey Prokofiev’s seven symphonies are acknowledged as one of the major cycles of the 20th century, and these recordings with Marin Alsop and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra have received widespread critical acclaim. From the crisp vitality of the youthful ‘Classical’ Symphony to the viscerally exciting Third, the Fifth Symphony which for Prokofiev represented ‘the grandeur of the human spirit’ and the deeply moving and heartfelt Sixth Symphony, this is an unforgettable collection crowned by the bittersweet Seventh Symphony, the composer’s final significant work.
Exceprts from reviews of previously released volumes included in this set:
Prokofiev: Symphonies No 1 "Classical" & 2 / Alsop
Without minimizing the Second’s violent energy, Alsop plays the piece with a vivid sense of its long melodic lines. The first movement, in particular, has plenty of excitement but also a certain lyrical emphasis that gives the music something to be excited about. It’s very convincing.
As for the Classical Symphony, well, just about everyone does it well, and while I can imagine a first movement with a touch more snap to its rhythms, the performance picks up steam as it goes, culminating in a delightfully crisp account of the finale. The early tone poem “Dreams” drifts about prettily for ten minutes, sounding like Debussy or Scriabin or basically anyone but Prokofiev. Does it deserve greater exposure? Perhaps not, but this lovely performance makes as strong a case for it as you might imagine possible. Vivid sonics make this the best release in this series so far.
– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 7 & Other Orchestral Works / Alsop
Alsop captures the lyrical aspects of the Seventh work really well. She 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.
– MusicWeb International