Igor Stravinsky

BBC Legends: BBCL42532

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Igor Stravinsky

Catalogue No:

BBCL42532

Series:

Conductors

Discs:

1

Release date:

2nd Feb 2009

Barcode:

0684911425321

Length:

78 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Igor Stravinsky

Recorded: Royal Festival Hall, London, 10 December 1958


Stravinsky:

Agon ‘Ballet for Twelve Dancers’

Symphony in 3 movements

Apollon musagète

Finale from The Firebird

Encore


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The iconic Igor Stravinsky conducting his own works ‘live’ is a major event, and the 1958 gala event was no exception.

‘Music and Musicians’ wrote “even Stravinsky, apostle of clarity, could not complain of the brilliance of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s attack or clean and faultless line of its phrasing. Seized as it was on this night with a sense of occasion, it can play like a band of angels.”

Both the ballet scores, ‘Agon’ and ‘Apollo’ (formerly named ‘Apollon Musagète), were recorded by Stravinsky in the studio after their respective premieres in 1957 and 1950, and then again in the 1960s. The ‘Symphony in 3 Movements’ was first recorded in the studio by Stravinsky in 1946.

There are some European air-checks of ‘Agon’ and ‘Apollo’ but the BBC’s own master tapes are of superb quality.

Stravinsky concluded the concert with three excerpts from the 1945 ‘Firebird’, but timing only permitted the Finale to be included here.

Applause

Applause

Igor Stravinsky: Agon

Pas de quatre

Double Pas de quatre

Triple Pas de quatre

Prelude

Saraband-Step

Gaillarde

Coda

Interlude

Bransle simple

Bransle gay

Bransle double

Interlude

Pas de deux

Coda

4 Duos

4 Trios

Coda

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in 3 Movements

I. Quarter note = 160

II. Andante - Interlude: L'estesso tempo

III. Con moto

Igor Stravinsky: Apollo

Tableau I: Naissance d'Apollon

Tableau II: Variation de Apollon: Apollon et les Muses

Tableau II: Pas d'action: Apollon et les trois Muses, Calliope, Polymnie et Tersichore

Tableau II: Variation de Calliope (l'Alexandrin)

Tableau II: Variation de Polyhymnie

Tableau II: Variation de Terpsichore

Tableau II: Variation d'Apollon

Tableau II: Pas de deux: Apollon et Terpsichore

Tableau II: Coda: Apollon et les Muses

Tableau II: Apotheose

Igor Stravinsky: L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird) (1911 version)

L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Tableau II: Finale

The Telegraph

18th February 2009

“Conducting his own music on a visit to London in 1958, he gives his recently composed ballet music Agon a fiercely angular reading, full of snap and fizz. The Symphony is given a similarly committed performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, though they seem at moments to escape the composer's baton. Only in the neo-classical Apollo is a little lyricism allowed to round the edges”

Sunday Times

1st March 2009

****

“Agon was then new, and is not the easiest work to play even now...but the performance... generally does its marvellous inventions justice, showing again that annexing serial techniques only made Stravinsky more characteristically and inimitably himself. The BBC strings’ Apollo, if not the most elegant in the world, is warm-hearted and full of life. The end of Firebird, played as an encore, rounds off a truly historic disc.”

BBC Music Magazine

June 2009

****

“Having only four rehearsals at his disposal, Stravinsky achieved remarkable results… Although the performance of Agon is hardly pristine, there's a greater sense of rhythmic tension in the performance than the more technically secure studio recording made by the composer...”

The Guardian

27th March 2009

“Their tense astringency is compelling, and the sense of a very special occasion is palpable from the start.”

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