Sergey Prokofiev

Symphony No. 1 in D major ("Classical"), Op. 25

    Description by Alexander Carpenter

    Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 (1916-17) represents the composer's earliest mature effort in a genre he returned to time and again for the remainder of his career. Though the symphony received a warm reception in Russia and abroad -- and remains one of the composer's most frequently programmed works -- Prokofiev's attitude toward it remained ambiguous, vacillating between dismissive and defensive.

    The First Symphony is especially intriguing in light of the view of Prokofiev as a leading figure of the Russian avant-garde in the early decades of the twentieth century. The work's anachronistic "Classical" moniker seems particularly apt in respect to a number of its features. The symphony is in a familiar four-movement form, the two fast outer movements (Allegro and Vivace, respectively) bracketing a slow movement (Larghetto) and one inspired by a stylized dance (Gavotto); its textures are economical, its scoring appropriate to an orchestra of the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century; and it is of a decidely lighthearted, even humorous character, much in the spirit of the symphonies of Haydn. Indeed, it should be noted that the "Classical" subtitle was Prokofiev's own; scholar R.D. Darell has suggested that the composer may have chosen it partly to describe the work's character, partly because he hoped that the work would one day become a classic, and partly out of pure mischief directed at critics. (In regard to the last, Prokofiev wrote that he meant to "tease the geese.")

    Though the symphony is at times sharply dissonant, it maintains a steadfastly tonal basis. Certainly, the "Classical" model is stretched in the work's harmonic language, which is marked by Prokofiev's characteristic ambiguous cadences and sudden shifts between tonal centers. Still, the work retains many of the trappings of Viennese Classicism, from the sonata-allegro form of the first movement, to the Mozartean gavotte and trio of the third, to the exuberant, witty finale. Despite the suggestion of its title, the "Classical" Symphony is not really neo-Classical along the lines of contemporaneous works by Stravinsky, but rather a work of elegant simplicity that evokes the spirit of high Viennese Classicism filtered through the more adventurous sensibilities of Prokofiev's own musical language.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro con brio
    2. Larghetto
    3. Gavotte. Non troppo allegro
    4. Finale. Molto vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Linn Records CKR 614
    2017 Erato 0190295877910
    2017 Sony Classical 88985419432
    2017 Decca / London
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2015 Erato
    2015 ATMA Classique ACD 22733
    2015 Testament SBT2 1503
    2015 Capriccio Records C 7190
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Melodiya MELCD 1002320
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4793446
    2014 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Decca / London
    2014 Alto ALC 1258
    2014 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4139
    2014 Naxos 8573353
    2014 Naxos NBD 0044
    2013 Entertainment Group 14156
    2013 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88725462392
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 Naxos 8501059
    2012 Berlin Classics BER 300347
    2012 Apex 2564659389
    2012 Supraphon SU 40932
    2012 First Hand Records FHR 16
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Decca 478 275-9
    2011 Decca 4782759
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 002894779628
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Apex 2564673020
    2011 Melodiya MELCD 1001797
    2011 Exton EXCL-00042
    2010 Sony Classical 8869768365
    2010 Berlin Classics 0300085
    2010 RPO 28760
    2010 Alto / Musical Concepts 1086
    2010 Decca 4218132
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Urania 22416
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926796
    2009 Membran 231755
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 Decca / Eloquence 4800834
    2009 Brilliant Classics 9006
    2009 Con Brio 28454
    2009 Documents/Membran / Membran 231885
    2009 Decca 4781728
    2008 Telarc Distribution 80739
    2008 Brilliant Classics 8818
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920762
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 Music & Arts WHRA 6022
    2008 Maestro Music 4694520
    2008 Nimbus 5816
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920686
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 88697295769
    2008 Erato 69675
    2008 Chandos Classics 10500
    2008 Phoenix Edition 135
    2008 Corona Records 0002472CCC
    2007 TDK DVWW-COMARG
    2007 Tim 220837
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 000819409
    2007 Regis Records 1258
    2007 Classics for Pleasure
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 82229
    2006 Chandos 2022
    2006 Universal
    2006 Music & Arts CD1182
    2006 Avanticlassic 10212
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 76945
    2006 Brilliant 7618
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 437253
    2006 Philips 000632902
    2005 RCO Live 05001
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 76871
    2005 Erato
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000424802
    2005 Praga 250216
    2005 EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 57854
    2005 Linn Records 219
    2005 Biddulph Recordings WHL058
    2004 Columns 99178
    2004 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41452
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62872
    2004 Artone 222344
    2004 Artemis Classics ATMCD1513
    2004 Rca Red Seal 62319
    2004 Universal Classics 000174002
    2004 Naxos 8 509001
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000085402
    2003 Nimbus Records 5192
    2003 Tim 220828
    2003 Berlin Classics 0090512
    2003 RCA 68408
    2003 Warner Classics 0927-49147-2
    2003 Warner Classics 7496342
    2003 Music & Arts CD1115
    2002 Classica d'Oro 1049
    2002 Decca 4705282
    2002 Supraphon 36702
    2002 History 205186
    2001 Unesco 70720
    2001 Vox 7810
    2001 Tahra 376-377
    2001 Music & Arts 1079
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469 172-2GP2
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 463761
    1999 Symposium 1240
    1999 Delos DE3710
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 423624
    1999 Intersound 2876
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 423216
    1999 Amadis 7190
    1998 Naxos 8 554058
    1998 Chandos CHAN9615
    1997 Testament 1107
    1997 Tahra 124/125
    1997 Naxos 8 553053
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 63275
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 66554
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 68604
    1996 Supraphon 91
    1996 RCA 74321 32042-2
    1996 Consonance 815007
    1995 Berlin Classics 0091422
    1995 Teldec 97440
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 431614
    1995 Virgin 61206
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 439912
    1995 Naxos 8 553218
    1994 Infinity Digital 57225
    1994 Philips 442 278-2PM2
    1994 Philips / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    1994 Supraphon 1949
    1993 Pearl 9487
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 53260
    1993 Sony Music Distribution SMK-47602
    1993 RCA 61350
    1993 Berlin Classics 0020612
    1992 RCA 60323
    1992 Chandos 8400
    1992 Erato 45734
    1992 Vox 5001
    1992 Praga 254004
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429396
    1991 London 430731
    1991 CBS Masterworks 46502
    1991 Telarc Distribution 80289
    1991 Chandos 8931
    1991 London 430782
    1991 ASV 760
    1991 London 430446
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 4293972
    1990 CBS Records 44785
    1989 Naxos 550237
    1989 London 421813
    1989 EMI Music Distribution 762775
    1984 Delos 3021
    1982 Deutsche Grammophon 4000342
    EMI Music Distribution 67729
    CBS Records 44901
    RCA 5661
    Nickson 1004
    Tim 220832
    Deutsche Grammophon 400034
    Relief 1887
    RCA 61209
    Teldec 44941
    Disques Montaigne 8740
    Teldec
    Brilliant 7618/4
    CBS Records 39557
    CBS Records 36725
    Everyman 35
    CBS Records 39783
    Leningrad Masters 1317
    Sony Music Distribution 48239
    Deutsche Grammophon 435026
    RCA 902662657
    RCA 62565
    Manchester 124
    Philips 432992
    Intaglio 732
    Pickwick 1603
    Supraphon 111949
    Melodiya 1000052
    Collins Records 1064
    RCA 61657
    Vox 8184
    EXL 4299
    Phoenix Edition 136
    Davidoff Classic 22
    Philharmonia of the Nations 51
    Vanguard 37
    Berlin Classics 9153
    Panton Records 0458
    RCA 60968
    State Hermitage Museum 2004
    History 205190