Prokofieff’s orchestral output includes quite a few works that are almost symphonies, including the Divertimento op.43, the Symphonic Song op.57, and this delightful 5-movement Sinfonietta. It began life in 1909 as op.5, was revised in 1914 and then again in 1929 and numbered op.48. The result of all this hard work is a piece of champagne-like lightness and sparkle, a neo-classical symphony from before the Classical Symphony. The 1st, 3rd and 5th movements all play with the same idea, a dancing tarantella theme that Prokofieff lures into ever more unexpected transformations. In between are a rather comical slow march and a catchy scherzo filled with the sounds of pizzicato strings.
Note by Gerard McBurney