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Prokofiev: Symphonies 1 & 5 - James Gaffigan

Prokofiev: Symphonies 1 & 5 - James Gaffigan

Challenge Classics  CC 72732

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Prokofiev: Symphonies 1 & 5

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
James Gaffigan (conductor)


The image Sergei Prokofiev seems to project, particularly when it comes to the music he wrote while living in the West from 1914 to 1935, is one of a joker and an agitator, yet a classical composer at the core. This double identity can be heard even in his earliest works, mostly for piano, written before 1914, and was sealed with his ‘Classical’ Symphony in 1917. The subtitle is the composer’s own. Indeed, Prokofiev stated, ‘I wanted to write a symphony that Haydn or Mozart would have written had they lived in the twentieth century.’

Symphony No. 5: Prokofiev wrote the work in the Soviet Union in 1944, when the Nazis were increasingly losing ground but had certainly not yet been defeated. Although the symphony lacks a programme per se, it is undeniably a depiction of war and victory. Heroism is always tinged with the tragedy inherent in war (and vice versa), and the grand gesture is both sincere and theatrical.

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Comment by hiredfox - March 12, 2017 (1 of 6)

James Gaffigan's Prokofiev survey is excellent and a worthy challenger to Gergiev so good to see this third disc enter the catalogue. Only that elusive Second to go now.

Comment by hiredfox - March 12, 2017 (2 of 6)

James Gaffigan's Prokofiev survey is excellent and a worthy challenger to Gergiev so good to see his third disc enter the catalogue.

Only that very elusive Second to go now.

Comment by jdaniel1371 - March 12, 2017 (3 of 6)

I've listened to his 6th and felt it was a little too soft-edged and brass not "audacious" enough in the first mov't. My Western orchestra reference is Jarvi's on Chandos, FWIW, but that recording's a little harsh.

Comment by GROOT GELUID - March 15, 2017 (4 of 6)

About the second: We have recorded that (and no3) with Maestro Jurovksy and GASO in Moscow and it will be released on Pentatone. More to come.....

Comment by jdaniel1371 - March 15, 2017 (5 of 6)

Dear Mr. Groot: Thank you so much for recording it, why is your recent Ein Heldenleben offered only in 44/16?

Comment by Graham Williams - March 16, 2017 (6 of 6)

To jdaniel1371

The recording you refer to was not made by Polyhymnia but by Hessicher Rundfunk engineers, hence no involvement by Erdo Groot. For the record I found it disappointing and also wonder who thought it was a good idea to allot Ein Heldenleben just one track.