This is a particularly attractive coupling from this outstanding series of symphonies conducted by Jarvi. This whole series was recorded at a peak period for Jarvi and his particularly responsive orchestra. The recordings throughout the series are in the best Chandos tradition - very clear, detailed, well-balanced and truthful.
Prokofiev produced two versions of the 4th symphony and this is the considerably expanded 1947 version as opposed to the shorter 1930 version. The general style of the piece is very reminiscent of much of his ballet music. The orchestral sound world and melodic lines constantly remind one of parts of the Romeo or Cinderella ballets. In fact much of the music used for the middle two movements originated in The Prodigal Son ballet which will probably be unknown to many. However, the point remains, that the style will be very familiar as indeed many of Prokofiev's stage works including the Prodigal Son share close links of inspiration.
The 1st symphony receives a perfectly enjoyable performance with no attempt being made to do more than to play with pleasure and neatness. This seems satisfactory to me as the intention of the piece is to divert rather than to make some major artistic statement. Performances that go down that route invariably become weighed down unnecessarily.
I would suggest to potential purchasers that this is a disc showing Prokofiev in his most sunny aspect and that this readily comes over on the disc. As such this should be considered as a serious contender. However the strongest challenge to this disc must be the boxed set of all the symphonies which is available at a very advantageous price. That would be my strongest suggestion for purchase.