Symphonies Nos 4, 6 & 7
Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 [digital download]
Sergei Babayan piano
Alexei Volodin piano
Valery Gergiev conductor
Total duration 2h 38m 14s
Catalogue number MAR0577
Vladimir Ryabenko Producer & Engineer
Symphonies Nos 4 & 6, Piano Concerto No 4 - DSD
Recorded at Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg
Symphony No 7 & Piano Concerto No 5 - 24 bit 48 kHz PCM
Recorded at Moscow Conservatory
HD Studio Master FLAC 24bit 48kHz [stereo]
MP3 320 kbps [stereo]
Editor’s Choice ***** ‘Continuing an already impressive own-label cycle, this well-filled set is even finer… The finale of the sixth is as exciting as any on record – and, with an excellent SACD sound, this is shaping up to be an unmissable series.’ Classical Music Magazine
***** Performance ***** Recording ‘Here soloists, conductor and orchestra seem fully engaged, delivering strongly characterised performances of great emotional depth and musical insight… Alexei Volodin (in the Fourth) and Sergei Babayan (in the Fifth) approach the fast movements with mercurial wit and dazzling clarity of fingerwork… Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra accompany with razor-sharp precision and play the three post-war symphonies with conviction and commitment…’ BBC Music Magazine
***** 'This Mariinsky newcomer is far superior, not only in the deeply introspective slant of Gergievs’s re-thinks, but also the sheer heft of the sound, with the all-pervasive bass drum especially vivid. The 1947 re-write of No 4 is given with a welter of emotion… Sergei Babayan’s account of the belligerent and occasionally humorous Fifth Concerto employs a formidable technique to compelling musical ends. Rarely has music’s most challenging ‘enfant terrible’ been allowed so near the edge – and in such wonderful sound, too. I now can’t wait to hear this team in the Second and Third Symphonies. Fabulous!' Classical Ear
Performance ****½ Recording ****½ ‘This exceptionally generously filled two-disc SACD set Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra provides a veritable feast of the composer's works… This impressive release marks a most auspicious start to the Mariinsky label's projects to honour the 125th anniversary of Prokofiev’s birth and should be heard by all who admire this composer's music.’ HRAudio.net
‘Performances are steeped in a pungency created by their distinctly Russian tonal colours, the hard-hitting often violent and hysterical view of the Sixth Symphony is the best on disc.’ YorkshirePost.co.uk
‘Sergei Babayan returned for (Piano Concerto) No 5, a work of sly wit and dark humour. The audience loved every minute...’
‘Never have I seen so many fast and furious hand-crossings, so many dizzying flights from top to bottom of the keyboard, all performed flawlessly (Piano Concerto No 5)…’
‘Alexei Volodin’s performance of the Piano Concerto No 4 was superbly controlled and beautifully subtle.’
***** ‘Alexei Volodin made it [Piano Concerto No 4] sound effortless.’
**** ‘Gergiev’s evident understanding of the structural and emotional intent of the symphony (No 7) was communicated to the orchestra...’
‘The pungent wit and extreme pianistic demands of the second movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 5 characterfully met by Sergei Babayan with the Mariinsky orchestra. It’s an excellent opening salvo for the Mariinsky’s celebrations for Prokofiev’s birthday’ BBC Radio 3
This major release launches the Mariinsky label’s projects to honour the 125th anniversary of Prokofiev’s birth. A long-time champion of the music of Prokofiev, Valery Gergiev conducts Symphonies Nos 4, 6 & 7, performed masterfully by the Mariinsky Orchestra and coupled with Piano Concertos Nos 4 and 5. The result is a 2-SACD set programmed to showcase some of Prokofiev’s finest works written before and after the Second World War.
Prokofiev began his Symphony No 4 in 1929, drawing from the musical material of his ballet The Prodigal Son. The Symphony was premiered the following year, though he substantially revised the work seventeen years later.
Prokofiev’s Symphony No 6 was written in 1947 as an elegy of the tragedies of World War II. Speaking of the Symphony, Prokofiev said, ‘Now we are rejoicing in our great victory, but each of us has wounds which cannot be healed. One man’s loved ones have perished, another has lost his health. This must not be forgotten.’
Prokofiev’s Symphony No 7 was completed in 1952, the year before the composer’s death. The Symphony was well-received following its premiere in Moscow, and was awarded the prestigious Lenin Prize in 1957 at Miami’s Knight Concert Hall.
Acclaimed for his highly sensitive touch and technical brilliance, Alexei Volodin performs Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 4. Written for the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein, the concerto was completed in 1931. It was the only one of Prokofiev’s piano works that never saw a performance during his lifetime. Premiered in Berlin in 1956, it was played by the West Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Alexei Volodin’s performance of the Concerto is described as ‘superbly controlled and beautfiully subtle’ by The Guardian.
Praised for his ‘fast and furious hand-crossing’ the American-Armenian musician Sergei Babyan performs Prokofiev’s last complete piano concerto, No 5. Written in 1932, the Concerto is made up of five short movements, each of which contains a wealth of virtuosity and invention.