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Prokofiev - Symphonies No. 4 & 7

Composer Sergey Prokofiev
Performer Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor
Catalogue Number BIS-2134 SACD
EAN 7318599921341
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Aug 2016
Total time 81'58


There is nothing unusual about a composer returning to a major work in order to make revisions, but among such works Sergei Prokofiev's Fourth Symphony is a unique case in that it exists in two such different versions that the composer considered them quite separate works and gave each its own opus number. Composed in 1929–30, the first version, Op. 47, met with lukewarm response at its Boston and European premières as well as at performances given before Soviet audiences following Prokofiev's final return to Russia in 1936. In 1947 Prokofiev decided to return to the symphony, producing not so much a revision as a complete reworking of the original material. The differences between the versions are too many to detail, but the main point is that the 1947 version, given the opus number 112, is a much bigger and more ambitious score. Some four years later Prokofiev began work on what would become his last major work, Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor. The composer announced that he aimed at simplicity and was writing ‘a symphony for children’, a statement that was possibly influenced by the fact that he in 1948 had been accused for ‘formalism’ by the Soviet authorities. In any case, there is nothing childish – or simple – about the work. After the first performance, Prokofiev was persuaded into change the ending, adding a more up-beat and optimistic twenty-bar alternative to the original coda. Both endings are included on the present recording, giving listeners the opportunity to judge the very different effect each makes. The disc is the third instalment in a Prokofiev cycle from Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, with previous discs receiving warm acclaim from, for instance, Fanfare (‘One of the best performances of the Fifth that I have ever heard…’) and the German website Klassik-Heute, which selected the recording of Symphony No. 6 as one of its recommended releases.
 
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  Sergei Prokofiev
  Symphony No.4 in C major, Op. 112 (revised version, 1947) 38'34
01 I. Andante – Allegro eroico – Allegretto 13'23
02 II. Andante tranquillo 9'55
03 III. Moderato, quasi allegretto 5'39
04 IV. Allegro risoluto 9'37
 
  Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 (1951–52) 32'39
05 I. Moderato 10'08
06 II. Allegretto 8'01
07 III. Andante espressivo 5'44
08 IV. Vivace 8'46
 
09 IV. Vivace from Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 with alternative ending 9'04
 
  Album total 81'58
ComposerProkofiev, Sergei
ConductorLitton, Andrew
OrchestraBergen Philharmonic Orchestra

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