Ideally the Myaskovsky should be placed first on this release. His F-sharp minor Twenty-First Symphony (of twenty-seven) from 1940 is a curious single-movement work of fifteen minutes that alternates, sometimes abruptly, Andante and Allegro sections, opening with a melancholic clarinet melody to which strings paint an arid landscape. For all the work’s duality there is plenty of sustained emotional intensity to become involved in en route to a full-circle conclusion.
Also impressively and insightfully performed is Prokofiev’s Fifth (1944) given an unvarnished truth-telling outing that includes an epic first movement of storytelling power, a rollicking, incisive and fiery Scherzo, and a deeply-felt and spacious Adagio. The work, following balletic grace, is signed-off with a whirlwind mechanistic coda that doesn’t compromise the performers’ hitherto scrupulous attention to dynamics and detailing.
The recorded sound is as directly honest as the music-making. LAWO Classics LWC1207.