Thomas Søndergård & RSNO - Prokofiev: Symphonies 1 & 5 - The Scotsman

Nearly 30 years separate the composition of Prokofiev’s First and Fifth Symphonies, but what years they were. In 1917, against the turmoil of revolutions in Russia, Prokofiev composed his First Symphony, the “Classical,” reimagining Haydn for the 20th century. The Fifth, praising “the free and happy man,” and written in 1944 with the end of the Second World War in sight, presents a more radical. emotionally complex countenance. But what connects the two is Prokofiev’s preoccupation with simplicity and clarity. Such qualities abound in two magnificent performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Thomas Søndergård. Rarely will you hear the “Classical” Symphony etched so finely, the orchestral colours warming the traditionally cool textures. The Fifth Symphony offers pungency and bite to which Søndergård’s precision engineering injects a laser-like hysteria that sets the music ablaze

The Scotsman
24 February 2020