This chapter charts Prokofiev’s development as a symphonist – from the charming but little-performed Sinfonietta, a close cousin to the first Classical Symphony – through to the strident, modernist Symphony No.2, composed in Paris in 1924. This work was to be ‘as hard as iron and steel’ the composer said.
Closing this album is the early symphonic poem Autumnal Sketch , sounding like a mixture of Richard Strauss and Scriabin.
As with the first album in the series, Karabits gets an authentically Russian kind of darkness out of the orchestra for the second Symphony, counterbalanced by the vivid, bright and lightness of touch for the first.
While conducting Prokofiev's music, it is impossible not to feel the unique trust the composer grants by leaving a huge part of the interpretation to the performer, rather than demanding that they should illustrate and respect what is notated in the score: I almost feel I am involved in the creative process myself.