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March 24, 2010

Baltimore Symphony to record complete symphonies of Prokofiev for Naxos

In addition to the programming announcement of the BSO's 2010-11 season, reported on Tuesday's blog and, with a few little extras in Wednesday's paper, there's some news regarding the orchestra's recording projects.

One of the bonuses in having Marin Alsop as music director is that she brought a strong connection to the Naxos label with her, and the company was happy to add the BSO to its product line. The initial project was a cycle of Dvorak symphonies (Nos. 6-9). The first release, with the "New World," came out last season, the next, with the Seventh and Eighth symphonies, is due in June, but BSO subscribers can nab it early (and "at a special price," of course).

Next season, you will notice two Prokofiev symphonies, No. 1 and No. 6, on a program that Alsop will conduct. This marks the start of a new cycle that will be recorded by Naxos over the next few years; it will cover all seven of the composer's symphonies and possibly other orchestral works.

Never mind that, as the great experts have it, there is no classical music recording industry left and no real market for the CDs and downloads that keep being churned out by that dead industry. It's still understandable that orchestras want to get their work recorded, for marketing (well beyond the home turf) and, if you will, for posterity.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:30 AM | | Comments (1)


This is a good field for them to pursue -- I don't consider any of the existing "complete" sets of these symphonies to be definitive (in fact, even trying to piece together a decent set of Prokofiev symphonies can be a bit of a challenge), so I welcome the attempt!

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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