Launching his Prokofiev symphony cycle here with the Bournemouth orchestra he’s been keeping in good shape, Kirill Karabits grasps the creepy-demonic atmosphere of the Third but not what’s between the lines of the surface-simple Seventh. Which means this is a CD of two halves and double standards.
Thin-sounding and over-close Bournemouth violins make no bid for nuanced pathos in the Seventh’s C sharp minor opening, the waltz fails to career Ravel-like to its close and the finale’s galop is stodgy. Only the return of enigma at the end of the symphony has its due, with the alternative fast coda provided as a supplement.
Both sound and substance are much finer in the Third. There’s a perfect balance between smeary themes and spine-chilling figurations for a work that never escapes the associations of its parent opera, Prokofiev’s infernal masterpiece The Fiery Angel. Swooping portamenti are keenly applied and the final thrash has full but clear-textured emphasis. Impossible, then, to know what to expect next from the team on this evidence.