Prokofiev: Symphonies – No 4 in C major, Op 112; No 6 in E flat minor, Op 111; Symphonic Fragment (1902)

Reviewed on Fri 18 Dec, 2015

The substantial 1947 revision of the Fourth Symphony (which adds more than 15 minutes to the 1930 original) finds a sympathetic advocate in Karabits, who directs proceedings with splendid purpose and fire.

The final instalment in Kirill Karabits's Prokofiev symphony cycle leads off with the mighty Sixth. Written between 1945 and 1947, it's arguably the composer's most powerful symphonic statement, and if Karabits doesn't always quarry this music's darkly troubled undertow as comprehensively as, say, Leinsdorf, Rozhdestvensky, Neeme Järvi or Gergiev before him, there's still much to admire in the clear-headed thrust of his reading, to say nothing of some commendably alert and dedicated orchestral playing. What the Bournemouth strings may lack in tonal clout they make up for with pleasing polish and conspicuous tenderness of expression. Likewise, the substantial 1947 revision of the Fourth Symphony (which adds more than 15 minutes to the 1930 original) finds a sympathetic advocate in Karabits, who directs proceedings with splendid purpose and fire; moreover, the Bournemouth SO are again on their toes throughout. We also get to hear the compact first movement of a symphony written by the 11-year-old Prokofiev – and an endearing morsel it is, too! Mike Clements's vividly realistic and wide-ranging sound is largely successful at taming the 'difficult' acoustic of Poole's Lighthouse. All in all, then, a sterling conclusion to what has been a notable series.
–Andrew Achenbach