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Stravinsky showed with his Symphony in C that great music could still be composed with the simplest means, recalling Beethoven’s achievement yet with his own rhythmic vitality, grace and refinement.
Also written during World War II, the Symphony in Three Movements reaches a martial conclusion enlivened by jubilant Latin American rhythms.
Secretly dedicated to his mistress, later wife, Vera de Bosset, the Octet was Stravinsky’s first completely neo-classical work and the happiest of his earliest pieces. In Dumbarton Oaks pays tribute to Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg Concerto.
Igor Stravinsky: Octet
I. Sinfonia: Allegro
II. Theme and Variations
Igor Stravinsky: Concerto in E flat major, "Dumbarton Oaks"
I. Tempo giusto
III. Con moto
Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in C major
I. Moderato alla breve
II. Larghetto concertante
IV. Largo - Tempo giusto, alla breve
Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in 3 Movements
I. half note = 80
II. Andante - Interlude
III. Con moto
“Robert Craft's best rostrum work involves relatively small forces and transparent textures, such as the Octet, which is here given a crisp, dapper performance, biting where needs be and bursting with life. Musical line and clear projection are invariable Craft priorities and both in the Octet and in the post-Baroque Dumbarton Oaks Concerto the pulse is kept moving and the musical journey is always clearly directed with generally superb execution from the New York players. All these selections were previously available. An earlier Craft-led version of the Symphony in Three Movements (from 1991) is marginally swifter than this 1999 Philharmonia remake, leaner too with a sharper edge (notably from the brass) but the finale on the new version is very appealing, with the incisive snap of woodwinds against eerily winding strings. The tighter, more astringent language of the Symphony in C suits Craft better, though the outer movements occasionally sound rushed. In the Symphony in C Craft's approach is all animation and nervous energy. As ever with him, there's the feeling that the mind in charge knows exactly what this music is about, and with generally excellent sound makes for a thoroughly reliable programme, while in the case of the two chamber works the effect is decidedly impressive. Needless to say, Craft's own programme- notes are a mine of relevant information.”
“Musical line and clear projection are invariable Craft priorities and both in the Octet and in the post-Baroque Dumbarton Oaks Concerto the pulse is kept moving and the musical journey is always clearly directed with generally superb execution from the New York players. As ever with him, there's the feeling that the mind in charge knows exactly what this music is about...”