SACD in jewelcase with 80pp booklet in slipcase Notes in Russian, English & French.
Each release from the Mariinsky label to date has featured music by some of the great Russian composers with whom the Mariinsky Theatre has enjoyed close relationships. For the label’s sixth release, Valery Gergiev turns to the music of Igor Stravinsky, a composer who grew up in St Petersburg, attending performances at the Mariinsky Theatre where his father sang. Less than four years separate the premieres of Les Noces and Oedipus Rex, yet they each represent high-points in two distinct phases of Stravinsky’s career. Although the concept of Les Noces is highly innovative – a ‘dance cantata’ – the music remains rooted in Russian folk traditions. Stravinsky dedicated the ballet to Diaghilev, whose Ballet Russes gave the première, and it marks the crowning glory of Stravinsky’s so-called ‘second Russian period’. The opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex is the first great work of Stravinsky’s neo-classical period. It features a major change in his compositional style, influenced in part by the loss of ‘Russian identity’ following his emigration. It is sung in Latin with Jean Cocteau’s original French narration spoken here by Gérard Depardieu. Valery Gergiev conducts a Stravinsky festival with the New York Philharmonic in April and May 2010, including performances of both Oedipus Rex and Les Noces. Later in May he conducts the LSO in London as well as on tour in Ireland and Germany performing music by Stravinsky, Debussy and Messiaen. Forthcoming releases from Mariinsky include the second title in Gergiev’s Grammy-nominated Shostakovich Symphony cycle followed in September by Wagner’s Parsifal. LSO Live releases Gergiev’s new recording of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony in May, the first release in a cycle of the composer’s symphonies, and indeed the first by the composer on LSO Live.
Les Noces: Part I, Scene I, The Brides Chamber
Les Noces: Part I, Scene II, At The Bridegroom's
Les Noces: Part I, Scene III, The Bride's Departure
Les Noces: Part II, Scene IV, The Wedding Feast
Oedipus Rex: Prologue And Act I, "Spectateurs, Vous Allez..."
Oedipus Rex: Act I, "Voici Creon, Beau-Frere d'Oedipe..."
Oedipus Rex: Act I, "Oedipe Interroge La Fontaine De Verite..."
Oedipus Rex: Act II, "La Dispute Des Princes Attire Jocaste..."
Oedipus Rex: Act II, "Le Temoin Du Meurtre Sort De L'ombre..."
Oedipus Rex: Act II, "Et Maintenant, Vous Allez Entendre..."
“Ekaterina Semenchuk...[is] the contralto with the biggest range and lustre since Bernstein's Troyanos, and Sergey Semishkur's Oedipus blends clarion authority with youthful pathos...all the right musical phrases shine through. Even Bernstein's recording can't match it for earthy authenticity.”
Awards Issue 2010
“Ekaterina Semenchuk (Jocasta) sounds plummy at first but she and Sergei Semishkur (Oedipus) bring electrifying intensity to the duet where they realise their guilt. Overall this is a double-bill of at times shattering impact.”
16th May 2010
“this performance [of Les Noces], recorded live, has idiomatic vocal forces, essential for this fundamentally Russian work...the Mariinsky Chorus and players relish the primitivist rhythmic verve of this singular masterpiece.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.