Kirill Karabits / Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7

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The seven symphonies of Sergey Prokofiev vary in popularity, and only the Symphony No. 1, "Classical" and the Symphony No. 5 are uncontested favorites. Somewhat less loved are the Symphony No. 3 in C minor (based on themes from the opera The Fiery Angel), and the Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, the last and possibly least understood of the cycle. These works seem as though they should be embraced by audiences because of their accessible tonality, memorable themes, and vibrantly colored sonorities, yet there has been some resistance to the Third's acidic dissonances and the Seventh's quizzical tone, aspects that are supposedly harder for listeners to appreciate. However, both works reward close study, and these live recordings by Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are an excellent introduction to these under-performed classics. Karabits is recording the entire cycle for Onyx, and his choice of these symphonies for the first installment suggests that he encourages a reappraisal of Prokofiev's music, especially of the Third's attractive scoring and cinematic style, as well as the Seventh's straightforward development and soaring melodies. This is certainly an intelligent way to open a Prokofiev set, and Karabits adds value by including a recording of the original ending of the Seventh. (The rest of the recordings will feature Prokofiev rarities that are connected to the origins of the symphonies.) This volume is a promising beginning, and it is highly recommended for the exciting performances and exceptional audio quality.

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