Almost every classical listener who has been paying attention knows of the high quality work of conductor Marin Alsop. I have had the good fortune to see and hear Marin live and she really is a gifted conductor with a particular talent for the music of the twentieth century to the present. Alsop is the music director of the Baltimore Symphony and has already begun to steer that ensemble into the ranks of one of America's finest. This very satisfying new recording of two of Prokofiev's best scores provides some grand listening moments but with a couple of surprises. First of all, Marin Alsop is also the newly appointed principal conductor of the present Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra and they play very well indeed under her direction. I do not think I have heard the OSESP ever before and this is certainly a very impressive introduction. The music itself is, of course, grand in every way but the "surprise" here is the "Symphonic Suite, op. 90, 'The Year 1941'" This pro-Russian patriotic suite was intended to extol the Russian forces in their holding back of the Germans at the western boundary; the Russian Front. Ironically, everyone from Stalin to Myaskovsky to Shostakovich had considered it a fairly weak score and not really befitting of the events it sought to laud. However, it is still vintage and characteristic Prokofiev and full of wonderfully full moments. Prokofiev later used the score for a soundtrack to a propaganda film (of sorts), "Partisans in the Ukrainian Steppes" The "Symphony #5" is a much better known score and most count it among the composers finest works. This recording fares quite well. The second movement, allegro marcato, and the third, adagio, are particularly strong under Alsop's baton. (Prokofiev often wrote both frenetic scherzo like passages as well as beautiful but longing slow movements that shine. See his ballet scores in particular) I enjoyed this recording a great deal! Some of my personal favorites are the Slatkin, St. Louis, Bernstein, New York and the Ormandy, Philadelphia. Rather than try to compare this recording with any of those (and other) historic chestnuts, I strongly recommend this disc to anyone wanting to hear a really fine orchestra you may not be familiar with as well as to hear for yourself why Marin Alsop is truly one of the country's best with a growing international reputation.