Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

November 2001

Disc of the Month

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Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - November 2001

Label:

Philips

Catalogue No:

4680352

Discs:

1

Release date:

7th Sept 2001

Barcode:

0028946803523

Length:

55 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring


Scriabin:

Symphony No. 4 - 'Le Poème de l'extase', Op. 54

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring


CD

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Igor Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: The Adoration of the Earth

Introduction

The Augurs Of Spring: Dances Of The Young Girls

Ritual Of Abduction

Spring Rounds

Ritual Of The Rival Tribes

Procession Of The Sage

The Sage

Dance Of The Earth

Introduction

Mystic Circles Of The Young Girls

Glorification Of The Chosen One

Evocation Of The Ancestors

Ritual Action Of The Ancestors

Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One)

Alexander Scriabin: Le Poème de l'Extase, Op.54

Le Poème de l'Extase, Op.54

BBC Music Magazine

July 2008

“Valery Gergiev is the conductor to choose if it’s raw primitivism you’re after and blow the detail. There's plenty of red mist, and at times you can almost smell the sweat and tribal greasepaint, but it’s also unkempt in places and not for all moods.”

bbc.co.uk

Andrew McGregor

20th November 2002

“it's as thrilling as anyone could have wished, a riot of rhythms and colours dispatched with a heady mixture of virtuosity and controlled savagery. The recording is astonishing, there's so much detail and a natural sense of air around everything, yet the intimate intensity of the orchestra pit is never sacrificed for the broader soundstage.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“This is probably the most extraordinary Rite ofSpring to have been dreamt up since Stravinsky's own final (and finest) 1960 recording. Stravinsky himself said, in so many words, that The Rite was born from his unconscious. And although now isn't the time or place to ponder to what extent his – and our – unconscious minds are capable (if at all) of harbouring any memories of pre-Christian ritual, suffice it so say that an exceptional performance of The Rite should at least have us thinking about it as a possibility…and about why we respond to The Rite in the way that we do.
Among modern interpreters, there isn't anyone better than Gergiev at the important dual roles of showman and shaman. So many of the score's darker workings have a striking profile here – tubas bellowing strange moans, the bass drum sending shock waves around the performance space, the lower strings in 'Spring Rounds' almost 'exhaling' their notes, and, for once, giving a proper foundation to that most significant of quiet chords – the one where the Sage kisses the earth. Indeed, 'Earth' and the 'elemental' seem not so much cultivated in this performance, as an inherent part of it.
Either Gergiev has really pondered the 'sound stuff' of the Rite, or it just comes naturally to him and his players. Though whether nature or nurture, the end results make for a marginally more compelling overall listen than all the finest recorded Rites of the last four decades. More controversial is some of the timing of 'events', especially the delay of the ascent to the final chord, though when it arrives, you wonder if its shocking make-up has ever been as effectively exposed. The delaying tactics – theatrical pauses and suspensions – proved a little more problematic in the second half of Scriabin's Poem ofEcstasy – along with Gergiev's extremes of tempo in the piece. But should one even be thinking these thoughts when offered a Poem which openly embraces the extravagant wonders of the piece as this one does? Better to marvel at all the mysterious curves, the fabulous dark rushes of sound, the celebratory splendours, and the final resolution (dissolution?) into an uncomplicated glory of C major. Here, as in The Rite, the recording is superb.”

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Editor's Choice

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 27 - Saint-Saëns

Awards:

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Gramophone Awards 2002

Record of the Year

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2001

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Label:

Hyperion

Catalogue No:

CDA67331/2

Discs:

2

Release date:

1st Sept 2001

Barcode:

0034571173313

Medium:

CD

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 27 - Saint-Saëns


Saint-Saëns:

Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5

Wedding Cake - Valse-Caprice for piano & strings, Op. 76

Rapsodie d'Auvergne for piano & orchestra Op. 73

Allegro appassionato for piano & orchestra Op. 70

Africa - Fantasie for piano & orchestra Op. 89


CD - 2 discs

Normally: $29.75

Special: $23.80

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Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major Op. 17

1. Andante, Allegro Assai

2. Andante Sostenuto Quasi Adagio

3. Allegro Con Fuoco

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22

1. Andante Sostenuto

2. Allegretto Scherzando

3. Presto

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major Op. 29

1. Moderato Assai

2. Andante

3. Allegro Non Troppo

Camille Saint-Saëns: Wedding Cake - Valse-Caprice for piano & strings, Op. 76

Wedding Cake

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 44

1. Allegro Moderato

2. Allegro Vivace

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 'Egyptian'

1. Allegro Animato

2. Andante

3. Molto Allegro

Camille Saint-Saëns: Rapsodie d'Auvergne for piano & orchestra Op. 73

Raapsodie D'Auvergne

Camille Saint-Saëns: Allegro appassionato for piano & orchestra Op. 70

Allegro Appassionato In C Minor

Camille Saint-Saëns: Africa - Fantasie for piano & orchestra Op. 89

Africa

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“If Saint-Saëns's idiom once answered – and maybe still does – to qualities fundamental to the French musical character, it must be said straight away that Hough sounds the complete insider. He commands the range of the big statements, whatever their character, as well as sparkle and panache, a sense of drama and seemingly inexhaustible stamina; and he can charm. Yet perhaps most delightful is the lightness and clarity of his decorative playing.
It's a bonus for the virtuoso passages not to sound hectic or overblown – for Saint-Saëns, virtuosity always had an expressive potential.
There's an air of manufacture about the writing sometimes, certainly, but as Hough knows, there must be nothing mechanical in its delivery.
Sweeping across the keyboard, dipping and soaring through the teaming notes, he flies like a bird. He manages to convey what makes these pieces tick: fine workmanship, fantasy, colour, and the various ways Saint-Saëns was so good at combining piano and orchestra. The orchestra has plenty to do. These scores are textbooks of lean but firm orchestration from which at least one major French composer learned (Ravel, another eclectic, who must have seen the 'old bear' as a kindred spirit). The days are past when the CBSO under Louis Frémaux was considered Britain's 'French' orchestra, but with Sakari Oramo it does splendidly here, playing alertly with its inspiring soloist as he does with it (another plus). The recording balances are fine, with lovely piano sound and plenty of orchestral detail in natural-sounding perspectives.”

Penguin Guide

2011 edition

“Marvellous performances of these delightful and ever inventive works from Stephen Hough, full of joy, vigour and sparkle, with Oramo and the CBSO acompanying spiritedly and with the lightest touch...An easy first choice for this repertoire.”

Presto Classical

James Longstaffe

“With performances as persuasive as these from pianist Stephen Hough, it makes one wonder why these works aren't performed more often. My favourite is probably the fifth concerto, nicknamed the Egyptian, in which the joy that both Hough and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under conductor Sakari Oramo bring to the last movement is quite palpable. A splendid set indeed, including other shorter works such as the Fantasy, Africa, partly written whilst Saint-Saëns was on an Egyptian cruise, recovering from a serious illness.”

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