ALBUM TITLE: Prokofiev
WORKS: Symphonies Nos 4 (revised version) & 6; Symphonic Fragment
PERFORMER: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Karabits
CATALOGUE NO: ONYX 4153
The final volume in Kirill Karabits’s fine Prokofiev series opens with a compelling account of the Sixth Symphony. One of the major virtues of this performance lies in Karabits’s ability to draw a cogent symphonic thread throughout each movement. Thus the sudden increase in tempo that builds up to the terrifying central climax in the opening Allegro moderato seems more powerful because Karabits presents the earlier part of the movement in comparatively introspective terms. Likewise in the Finale, the conductor gradually ratchets up the tension, the martial rhythms that follow the deceptively jovial first idea in the strings becoming ever more sinister in character as the movement moves towards its brutal coda, presented here, as in Mravinsky’s classic performance, with a devastatingly effective slowing down of tempo before the final chord.
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra plays with conviction and virtuosity throughout the Sixth. And it’s equally adept in the expanded version of the Fourth, which here seems far less structurally discursive than in many other performances. A largely positive recommendation for this release is slightly marred by some occasionally odd sounding bits of orchestral balance: for example, the trumpets’ obliteration of the high screeching note in upper woodwind at the beginning of the second bar in the Largo of the Sixth.