Sergueï Prokofiev – Symphony n° 5 (2/2)

First part
2 – Allegro marcato

Malcom Sargent (1895-1967) – London Symphony Orchestra – 1959
Superb, vivid, steady, one or two cinders (not much editing at the time). Despite an end a little redundant, this movement is a feast. 8.5

Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) – Philadelphia Orchestra – 1960
Splendid strings, less sharp but more singing than Sargent. 8.5

George Szell  – The Cleveland Orchestra – 1960
The legendary clarity of Szell at its best. Superlative orchestra and sound. 9

 
Konstantin Ivanov (1907-1984) – USSR State Symphonic Orchestra – 1961
Rather poor sound, strangely relaxed, but very much detailed, like chamber music. I will let it but it is a version to be known (found it only on Deezer).

Paul Kletzki (1900-1973) – The Philharmonia – 1964
Authoritative, just a little heavy or mf. Found on Spotify. 8

Ladislav Slovak (1919-1999) – Czech Philharmonic Orchestra – 1964
Nice account but less vivid than the best above. 7.5


Walter Weller (1939-2015) – London Symphony Orchestra – 1975

Impetuous, mellow ‘trio’, overall it lacks of some sharpness. 8

Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) – Berliner Philharmoniker – 1982
Except Peter and the Wolf, this was the only Prokofiev recording by Karajan. Lively, ‘grand’ orchestra. 8.5

Neeme Järvi (1937-*) – Scottish National Orchestra – 1986
A real Prokofiev specialist. Reverberate sound as usual with Chandos. Maybe not the most refined, but extrovert. 8

Mariss Jansons (1943-2019) – Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra – 1988
Not the best sound up to now. Very animated, well managed;  joyous and enjoyable. 8

Iouri Temirkanov (1938-*) – Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra – 1991
Rather slow tempo, specially the last part – impressive, refined (piano part), beautifully phrased.  8.5

Valery Gergiev (1953-*) – London symphony orchestra – 2006
Fast. Lacks a little bit of expression and drive. 7.5
 

Andrew Litton (1959-*) – Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – 2015
Engagement, drive, dynamics, sounds a little like Candide overture. 8

Tugan Sokhiev (1977-*) – Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin – 2016
Not the best orchestra, good animation. 7.5

 

3 – Adagio

Malcom Sargent (1895-1967) – London Symphony Orchestra – 1959
Could be clearer for the strings in the first part. The climax is nosier than impressive, but atmospheric end. 7.5

Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) – Philadelphia Orchestra – 1960
Ormandy is much slower, more taking. Superlative orchestra again, could be more epic. 8

George Szell  – The Cleveland Orchestra – 1960
Sounds with more evidence in this very difficult movement. 8.5
 

Paul Kletzki (1900-1973) – The Philharmonia – 1964
Fast, less clear, noisy climax. 7.5


Walter Weller (1939-2015) – London Symphony Orchestra – 1975

Petrushka & Chosta 1 apart, this is for me the most convincing Russian symphony with a piano part. Consistent conducting, taking, impressive climax. 8

Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) – Berliner Philharmoniker – 1982
Wonderful strings again, the music breathes. 8.5
 

Neeme Järvi (1937-*) – Scottish National Orchestra – 1986
Very detailed, beautiful. 8.5
 

Mariss Jansons (1943-2019) – Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra – 1988
The most mysterious account, superb atmospheres. 8.5

Iouri Temirkanov (1938-*) – Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra – 1991
Great conducting here too., superb balance. 8.5
 

Andrew Litton (1959-*) – Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – 2015
A little disappointment, not the best orchestra and the conducting lacks of relief. 7.5

I will quit here, in order of preference :
Szell – Karajan – Järvi – Temirkanov – Sargent – Ormandy – 
Jansons – Weller (only two still living conductors)
(For ones who doubt on my impartiality since these are not blind listening, I have never been a great fan of George Szell…)


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