Prokofiev: Symphonies – No 1 in D major, Op 25 (Classical); No 2 in D minor, Op 40; Sinfonietta in A major, Op 5/48; Autumnal Sketch, Op 8

Reviewed on Thu 11 Dec, 2014

Completed in 1925, Prokofiev's Second Symphony remains the most problematic and sheerly challenging of his cycle, so it's some measure of Kirill Karabits's achievement that he extracts so much sinewy logic, thrusting purpose and frequently revelatory detail from this music of 'iron and steel' (to quote its creator). Indeed, the Bournemouth SO is certainly on its toes throughout, displaying poise and flair aplenty in the Classical Symphony (which sounds positively newly-minted here) and youthful, utterly captivating five-movement Sinfonietta (originally dating from 1909 and overhauled 20 years later). There's also room for another intriguing rarity, the by turns glowering and ardent Autumnal Sketch from 1910, with its distant echoes of Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead (premiered in Moscow the previous year). Featuring admirably truthful sound and balance, this scrupulously prepared and generously full anthology (Volume 2 in Karabits's most welcome Prokofiev series for Onyx) comes very strongly recommended.
–Andrew Achenbach