Philharmonia Orchestra & Santtu-Matias Rouvali – Prokofiev – Symphony No.5 (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:19 minutes | 806 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Signum Records
Following an acclaimed debut recording of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with the Philharmonia in 2020, Santtu-Matias Rouvali returns with a recording of Sergei Prokofiev’s iconic Symphony No. 5.
Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 was first performed in 1944, 14 years after his previous symphony. Prokofiev described his Fifth Symphony as a “hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit,” explaining that, “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.”
Conductor Santtu-Mathias Rouvali, set to take up the principal conductorship of the venerable Philharmonia Orchestra in late 2021, is perhaps starting out with familiar repertory; his first recording for the Signum Classics label was of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and here, he returns with the almost-as-common Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100, but his performance here is not trite in the least. This is Prokofiev’s wartime realist-populist masterpiece, a counterpart to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60. However, Rouvali tones down the patriotism a bit in favor of a lively reading (the finale of the work is indeed marked Allegro giocoso, but you’d never know it from some versions) that brings out unexpected details and introduces unusually flexible tempos. The big tunes in the first movement aren’t played for maximum emotional impact but rather for their integration into Prokofiev’s carefully argued sonata form. The live recording here plays to the performance’s strengths; the orchestra has had plenty of experience with this symphony and is ready to respond to Rouvali’s fresh ideas. Signum Classics offers a resonant but clean and transparent sound at the Royal Festival Hall in a recording that promises new ideas from the Philharmonia’s new conductor.
1. Philharmonia Orchestra – Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, Op. 100: I. Andante
2. Philharmonia Orchestra – Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, Op. 100: II. Scherzo Allegro marcato
3. Philharmonia Orchestra – Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, Op. 100: III. Adagio
4. Philharmonia Orchestra – Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, Op. 100: IV. Allegro giocoso