Prokofiev - Symphony no.5, Scythian Suite | Sony 88875185152

Prokofiev - Symphony no.5, Scythian Suite


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Label: Sony

Cat No: 88875185152

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 4th March 2016



Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


Tugan Sokhiev


Prokofiev, Sergei

Scythian Suite, op.20
Symphony no.5 in B flat major, op.100


Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


Tugan Sokhiev


Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony was conceived in the Soviet Union as World War II was still raging. He gave out in a statement at the time that he intended it as "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit." He added "I cannot say that I deliberately chose this theme. It was born in me and clamoured for expression. The music matured within me. It filled my soul."

Prokofiev originally wrote the Scythian Suite for the Sergei Diaghilev ballet Ala i Lolli, the story of which takes place among the Scythians. After Diaghilev called for a change of plan before the score was complete, the Prokofiev reworked the music into a suite for concert performance.

Tugan Sokhiev is a Russian-Ossetian conductor. Sokhiev began piano studies at the age of 7 and first conducted at the age of 17, inspired by Anatoly Briskin, the conductor of the North Ossetia State Philharmonic Orchestra. He subsequently attended the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he was one of the last students of Ilya Musin before the latter's death in 1999.

After his role as the music director of the Welsh National Opera from 2003, 2005 saw Sokhiev become principal guest conductor and musical adviser with the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse. He received the accolade 'Révélation musicale de l'année' from the French Critics' Union in 2005, after a Paris performance with the Capitole de Toulouse orchestra, and in September 2008, he became the orchestra's music director. In September 2010, he was named principal conductor and artistic director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin). He took the title of principal conductor designate with immediate effect. In January 2014, the Bolshoi Theatre named Sokhiev its new music director.

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin is an internationally renowned German orchestra based in Berlin. It was founded in 1946 by American occupation forces as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester (RIAS being an acronym for "Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor" / "Radio In the American Sector"). In 1956, the orchestra was renamed the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin) and took on its present name in 1993. Music of the 20th century immediately became a programming staple, in addition to interpretations of the classical repertoire characterised by transparency, structural conciseness and plasticity.


Prokofiev’s earthy Scythian Suite has its origins in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. In 1915, the young composer was commissioned to write for the Ballet Russes in Paris, the company that had created such a sensation with Stravinsky’s revolutionary work. Alas, the resulting ballet was thought too similar to be staged. Instead, Prokofiev fashioned his score into a four-movement concert suite, captured here in all its excitable glory, Tugan Sokhiev urging his Berlin players into something of a frenzy. It’s worth hearing for the mighty closing crescendo alone.  Stephen Pritchard
The Observer 20 March 2016
Tugan Sokhiev, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and his sound team are otherwise on splendid form for their unapologetically mainstream account of the Fifth. This much sought-after maestro takes the first movement broadly enough to lend credence to what might seem mere ideological posturing: the composer’s oft-quoted words equating its content to ‘the grandeur of the human spirit’. There are a few tank-like manoeuvres en route – Prokofiev would certainly have expected the first movement’s second theme to flow less stickily – but everything works in context. The scherzo is suitably brilliant, the third movement darker and more profound than usual, the finale as scintillating as I’ve ever heard it.  David Gutman
Gramophone June 2016
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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