Of the seven symphonies of Sergey Prokofiev, the Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Classical," is the clear favorite, and it is sure to help this volume in Kirill Karabits' cycle for Onyx sell well. However, listeners who know that this cheerful piece is a tribute to Haydn and utterly unlike the rest of Prokofiev's symphonies will be inclined to investigate further and discover other aspects of his music in the Symphony No. 2 in D minor, the Sinfonietta in A major, and the Autumnal Sketch. Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra acquitted themselves admirably in their first volume of the series with the Third and Seventh symphonies, giving exciting performances with exceptional sound, and this second volume follows suit. Naturally, they give the "Classical" Symphony a charming performance, and they impart a little of the same feeling to the bright, neo-classical Sinfonietta, an early work that is rather similar in flavor. But the Symphony No. 2 provides a startling contrast in its astringent character and uncompromising complexity and dissonant textures, which mark it as one of Prokofiev's most avant-garde works of the 1920s. Yet anyone already familiar with Prokofiev's output will recognize his personality in it, and concede that it has more originality than the "Classical" Symphony displays. The closing piece, Autumnal Sketch, offers moody scene painting that strikes a curious balance between austere harmonies and lush orchestration.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 2 in D minor, op. 40|
|Sinfonietta in A, op. 5/48|
|Symphony No. 1 in D, op. 25 'Classical'|