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Prokofiev: Symphonies 2 & 3 - Jurowski

Prokofiev: Symphonies 2 & 3 - Jurowski

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186 624

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Prokofiev: Symphonies 2 & 3

State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)


The acclaimed Russian-born maestro Vladimir Jurowski kicks off his new cycle of the complete symphonies of Prokofiev for PENTATONE with a searing account of the challenging and uncompromising second and third symphonies.

“There is something profoundly, even unmistakably Russian in these works”, writes Jurowski. “I am deeply convinced that only a Russian orchestra can add something special to this music … That is why I am delighted to record Prokofiev’s symphonic oeuvre with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov” for PENTATONE. Especially to Western ears, this could open up a whole new sound-world.”

Forged out of “iron and steel”, the rarely-performed Symphony No. 2 uses strident fanfares, martial rhythms and clashing dissonances to create great walls of sound to represent the inexorable march of the machine age. It’s a deliberately modernist work, written while the composer was in Paris in the 1920s and intent on provoking audiences. The stark first movement is balanced by the second movement which is in the form of six disparate variations. Containing more subdued and lyrical moments, these variations build towards a relentless march, culminating in a series of hammer blows from the orchestra to end the work with a ghostly calm.

The Symphony No. 3 recycles material from his opera The Fiery Angel to dramatic and terrifying effect. It’s an angry, defiant and complex work which contains a lyrical slow movement, a dazzling third movement in the form of a devilish scherzo and an almost unhinged final movement which starts as a sinister march and builds to an apocalyptic climax of alarming power.

Vladimir Jurowski has recorded extensively for PENTATONE and has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. In July 2017, he signed a long-term, multi-album agreement with PENTATONE which includes a new complete cycle of the symphonies of Sergei Prokofiev with his State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”. Also scheduled for 2018 with the same forces is a recording of Tchaikovsky’s complete ballet Swan Lake. Recent releases by Jurowski for PENTATONE include violin concertos by Britten and Hindemith with Arabella Steinbacher, and tone poems by Mahler and Strauss, performed with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin where he is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.

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Comments (3)

Comment by diw - October 10, 2017 (1 of 3)

This disc will complete a possible SACD Prokofiev symphony cycle, although over multiple labels. Good to have a Pentatone cycle starting, although I would have thought that the Bis cycle would be further along by now. Now we need to finish a set of Prokofiev Piano Concertos!

Comment by Scott Adair - October 12, 2017 (2 of 3)

Gaffigan on Challenge has only one disc to go in his symphony cycle, with Sym 2 and whatever it will be paired with, maybe the second version of #4 or a concerto, I'd guess. I have all the ones he's done so far and would rate them very highly, though I'm no Prokofiev expert.

Comment by hiredfox - October 14, 2017 (3 of 3)

For what it's worth Scott that's how I hear it as well. Gaffigan has conjured up something rather special in his survey thus far so his 2nd is eagerly awaited. It seems to me that he is more considered and inspired interpreter than Gergiev.

Karabits received rave reviews from the critics for his recent survey (on Onyx RBCD) but alas too soon for the new SACD recording contract with Chandos. The now ageing Jaarvi / RSNO survey on RBCD has for long been considered the benchmark but both these newcomers run it pretty close.