This release crept out in the late Spring schedules; no great fanfares. Even the presentation doesn't exactly shout out to be noticed; you could easily overlook this CD whilst looking for a Prokofiev 5.
Don't. This is an outstanding new recording of Prokofiev's most popular symphony. From the very opening, this is clearly an orchestra of the first class. Not only is the playing very fine, it is totally committed. This is one of those rare releases where there is the electricity of a live performance, although it is in fact a studio recording, made in the excellent acoustics of the Sala Sao Paulo, Brazil. Marin Alsop has a fine track record of recordings for Naxos, with the R.S.N.O., Bournemouth and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras (although I do not entirely share the adulation given to the accounts of the last three Dvorak symphonies, which sound rather ordinary to me). Alsop has clearly thought out her approach to Prokofiev 5 and allows detail to emerge; an example is the plaintive woodwind figure in the second movement, taken slower than is usual. The final movement has an underlying drive, although it's not taken particularly quickly, and has an unusually fatalistic final blow.
Naxos has done it again; a brilliant combination of orchestra and conductor, recorded in excellent sound (every bit as good as the fine BIS recordings from this orchestra and hall), plenty of depth, space and range. Wonderful stuff. And the even better news is that this team is recording the whole Prokofiev symphonic cycle; we badly need a really fine recording of Prokofiev's greatest symphony, the Sixth; my favourite performance, Mravinsky and the Leningrad Phil., suffers from all sorts of recording problems.
So, don't hesitate.
No matter how many Prokofiev Fifths you have, you must hear this.