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Thomas Søndergård’s sophomore album as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra marks his first recording devoted to the symphony with the orchestra. Søndergård conducts an all-Prokofiev programme juxtaposing two contrasting symphonies: Symphony No. 1 in D major ‘Classical’ and Symphony No. 5 in B flat major. Prokofiev delights in paying homage to Haydn in his neo-classical masterpiece; its characterful melodies, freshness and overall joie de vivre have established Symphony No. 1 as enduringly popular. The Scotsman awarded the concert performed live in the 2018/19 season five stars, commenting that ‘the detail in this performance was breathtaking’. In contrast the Fifth Symphony was forged in the flames of war, and dedicated, Prokofiev said, to ‘the greatness of the human spirit’. Following a concert performance The Herald commented, ‘This was the conductor at his most energetic and impassioned, and it drew a corresponding performance from the orchestra.’ Prokofiev has been a key focus for Søndergård since 2016 and the conductor has announced plans to complete a symphonic cycle over four seasons with his orchestra.

".. Sondergard and the RSNO bring huge intelligence, as well as a light touch, to the precocious young composer’s provocative work."
The Herald, 22 February 2020
"… The first movement of Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony No. 1, performed with a lovely sense of Haydnesque alertness by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Thomas Søndergård. The Classical turns out to be the elegant and impish upbeat to a symphony that asks more serious questions: Prokofiev’s Fifth. Søndergård captures the character of the middle movements especially well."
BBC Radio 3 'Record Review', 22 February 2020
"... a highly recommendable release, even if you already have both symphonies in favourite recorded performances."
MusicWeb International, 23 March 2020
"The end result is spacious and sparkly, familiar pathways refreshed by a light coating of frost. Sophisticated sound engineering helps."
Gramophone, May 2020
"these alternately poised and dynamic performances are extremely competitive"
Classical CD Choice, 15 March 2020
"5* : ... two magnificent performances ... Rarely will you hear the “Classical” Symphony etched so finely, the orchestral colours warming the traditionally cool textures."
The Scotsman, 24 February 2020
"Performance 4* / Recording 4* : Thomas Søndergård elicits from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra neatly articulated and next to immaculate playing ..."
BBC Music Magazine
"Sound Quality 80%: Start with the 'Classical' Symphony and you are struck by the finesse of the playing under Søndergård - it's an exemplary version."
Hi-Fi News
"All credit must go to the orchestra's musical director and principal conductor Thomas Søndergård. The album is highly recommended."
Jim's Blog