Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)

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Stravinsky: Rite of Spring & The Firebird

Stravinsky: Rite of Spring & The Firebird


Stravinsky:

The Firebird

The Rite of Spring


The fifth recording of Tugan Sokhiev and his Toulouse orchestra, now considered one of the best French ensembles, was issued earlier this year as a cd book with extra dvd content. It was given many critical plaudits and is now reissued in digipack just in time to celebrate the end of the 'Rite's' centenary year. Besides his activity as Music Director at Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Tugan Sokhiev is now Music Director at Deutsches Symphonie Orchestra in Berlin and guest conductor of several prestigious orchestras, including the Philharmonia to which he returns each season. He also enjoys a close association with the Mariinsky Theatre and is in demand from orchestras and opera houses worldwide. The relationship between Sokhiev and his musicians in Toulouse is increasingly celebrated: Le Figaro described the partnership as "at the centre of French musical life", while Le Monde wrote of “Sokhievmania” after a recent performance in Paris.

Naive - V5360

(CD)

$13.25

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Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps and Debussy: Jeux

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps and Debussy: Jeux


Debussy:

Jeux - Poème dansé

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

The Cleveland Orchestra


Presto CD

Sony - 88765469222

(Presto CD)

$14.25

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Stravinsky: Petrouchka & Le Sacre Du Printemps

Stravinsky: Petrouchka & Le Sacre Du Printemps


Stravinsky:

Petrushka

The Rite of Spring


2013 is the 100th anniversary of the first performance of the ballet "Le Sacre du Printemps" at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913. Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" became recognised as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire. Maestro Gatti and the Orchestra National de France performed Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” multiple times already, including the London Proms 2010. On June 13th 2013 Daniele Gatti will conduct the Orchestre National de France performing "Le Sacre du Printemps" at the place where the piece was originally premiered - the Théâtre des Champs Elysées.

“While there is plenty of detail and some fine playing, it is hard to imagine anyone dancing to this music, never mind raising a fist.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 **

Sony - 88725442552

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$13.25

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Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps

Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Symphonies of Wind Instruments

Apollon musagète


Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, whose Grammy® award-winning accounts of Stravinsky’s Symphony in C and Symphony of Psalms are among Gramophone magazine’s Top 10 Stravinsky Recordings (2011), return to the composer with a recording of the ground-breaking ballet Le Sacre du printemps, whose premiere a century ago marked a turning point in 20th century music history. The programme on this release also includes new recordings of Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Apollon Musagète, another of the Russian master’s breathtaking ballets.

Although the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps in Paris on 29th May 1913 famously set off a near-riot, the work quickly became recognised as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century. The 100th anniversary of the premiere will be commemorated with performances all over the world in 2013 and, no doubt, with some new recordings. On record and in performance, Simon Rattle has championed the orchestral works of Stravinsky with insight and dedication over many years and this latest recording is an important addition to his Stravinsky discography.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“the physical impact here of maximum Berlin Philharmonic firepower is part of what the music itself calls for...Compared to the clotted cream sonorities in evidence here, Rattle's CBSO recording is far truer to the music's poised incisiveness and grace. But his new reading of The Rite of Spring with the Berlin Philharmonic is a formidable achievement.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“You could be forgiven for thinking this was still Herbert von Karajan’s orchestra, such is the depth of colour in The Rite of Spring and weight of string sonority in Apollon Musagète.” Financial Times, 6th April 2013 ***

“This is a pretty considerable account of Le Sacre. I think there is, at times, a degree of greater urgency than was the case in 1987 - perhaps the presence of an audience helped; perhaps it’s the fact that an even more experienced Rattle is now at the helm of a virtuoso orchestra...a refined and excellent performance of Apollon Musagète which benefits not only from the virtuosity of the Berlin string players but also from the fastidious ear of their conductor.” MusicWeb International, April 2013

“What struck me most was Rattle’s focus on the work’s sensuality, especially in its early stages. Even the opening bar is seductive rather than primitive...Little details that I often listen for are happily present and correct: the groaning horns come through wonderfully in the section entitled Dances of the Young Girls” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 27th May 2013

“Stravinsky famously disliked Karajan’s supersmooth 1960s account with this orchestra, but he surely would have responded more positively to Rattle, who never allows sheer beauty of sound to undermine the rhythmic pulsing...The Berliners’ strings may be plusher than Birmingham’s, and the woodwind soloists are instrumental royalty, but Rattle preserves the visceral barbarism of this ever-astonishing score.” Sunday Times, 31st March 2013

“It’s indecently luxuriant and played with a confidence which almost borders on complacency...This recording is full of...sounds which will have you dusting down your miniature score in disbelief. Rarely has the second half’s intro sounded so decadent and sweaty, and I whooped for joy at hearing a normally inaudible low horn rasp a few minutes near the close.” The Arts Desk, 6th April 2013

“The performances all have the sense of utter security, tonal depth and fabulous dynamic range that are characteristic of the Berlin Philharmonic in Rattle's era...The Berliners are so much on top of their parts that there is something almost too secure about the result...It's a superbly judged performance, with just the right balance between individuality in the wind playing and immaculate ensemble” The Guardian, 21st March 2013 ****

“it is the suavity of the score that startles, especially in Rattle's subtle use of rubato (stolen time) and the cool sensuality of the woodwind solos. Those woodwind players – currently vying with the principals of the Concertgebouw for the title of world's finest – shine again in Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments.” The Independent, 30th March 2013 *****

“[Stravinsky] would surely have warmed to this new version. Rattle’s sense of pacing and proportion is unerring, and the sound has a startling vividness that makes this familiar piece seem new. One hears thickets of ticking, twittering inner parts that normally stay in the background.” The Telegraph, 19th April 2013 ****

“Beautiful, all beautiful. But beauty is not enough. We also need the primitive and rude: ingredients that Rattle and the suave Berliners tend to deliver wearing kid gloves...If you’re after an interpretation in love with the score’s quieter corners, go for Rattle with confidence; if you want Stravinsky red in tooth and claw, he’s often hard to find.” The Times, 5th April 2013 ***

Presto Disc of the Week

27th May 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - May 2013

Warner Classics - 7236112

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$13.00

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Stravinsky: Petrushka, Le sacre du printemps, Eight Instrumental Miniatures & Circus Polka

Stravinsky: Petrushka, Le sacre du printemps, Eight Instrumental Miniatures & Circus Polka


Stravinsky:

Petrushka (1947 version)

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

The Rite of Spring

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

Instrumental Miniatures (8)

Los Angeles Chamber Ensemble

Circus Polka

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra


Zubin Mehta’s Decca legacy has extensively been mined by Eloquence and the latest release in this on-going exploration brings together all of his Stravinsky recordings for Decca on one CD for the first time. As one might expect, they are technicolour, sharply-etched performances (from Los Angeles) of two of Stravinsky’s greatest ballet scores – Le sacre du printemps and Petrushka, as well as the cheeky Circus Polka, and, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (made up of LAPO members) the rarer Eight Instrumental Miniatures. The recording is issued in time for the centenary of the scandalous premiere (May 1913) of Le sacre.

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4805377

(CD)

$8.75

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Firebird Suite

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Firebird Suite


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

The Firebird Suite

Scherzo a la Russe

Symphonic Version

Tango No. 72

Orchestral Version (1940). Orchestration by Felix Guenther, approved by Stravinsky and first performed by Benny Goodman


“A fascinating chance to compare a composer's own interpretation with a brilliant newcomer. Ivan Fischer's new Rite of Spring is lean and hungry, razor-sharp and matches his description of it: "fresh, pagan, scary, new and beautiful"...Quite deliberate in places (Spring Rounds is surely too slow) it is full of piercing, unfamiliar detail and accumulates tremendous weight.” The Observer, 22nd January 2012

“The Rite of Spring remains a seismic event in the history of music, still astounding in a performance as gripping and as powerful as this live account by Fischer’s BFO. These Hungarians manage the remarkable feat of making this familiar music sound ever fresh and new — I love Fischer’s chamber-music textures in Dances of the Adolescent Girls, and his Dance of the Earth sounds positively volcanic.” Sunday Times, 19th February 2012

“This is one of the earthiest, most pagan accounts of the ballet around. It’s also one of the most carefully considered whenever Stravinsky writes in a slow tempo...Whenever the music jerks into high gear — the notes cascading, polyrhythms jabbing — the contrast is doubly thrilling.” The Times, 24th February 2012 ****

“Fischer and his Budapest forces possess the right ingredients: the orchestra is well drilled in an interpretation that's as straight as a Roman road; its strings are searing, and brass and wooodwind play in the clipped manner favoured by Stravinsky. In short, it's what the composer said he wanted from a performance of this music. The problem is that Stravinsky did not practise what he preached.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 **

“Fischer's The Rite of Spring is sensual and revealing...There's a elasticity to Fischer's conducting that keeps Stravinsky's score pliable...In a word, this is a 'musical' performance, one where every note seems an inevitable outgrowth of its predecessor. It's not the most viscerally exciting version on disc...[but it] avoids what Stravinsky himself labelled self-glorification.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

GGramophone Awards 2012

Finalist - Orchestral

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Channel - CCSSA32112

(SACD)

$15.00

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Stravinsky: Pétrouchka & Le Sacre du printemps

Stravinsky: Pétrouchka & Le Sacre du printemps


Stravinsky:

Petrushka (1911 version)

The Rite of Spring


This release sees the critically acclaimed Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under its music director Andrew Litton perform two scores by Igor Stravinsky that stand at the pinnacle of 20th-century orchestral music.

Both Pétrouchka and Le Sacré du printemps were written for the ballet impressario Sergei Diaghilev and his company Les Ballets Russes.

The particularly striking aspect of Pétrouchka was the extensive use of folk song and street music, treated with extreme refinement and often biting irony – the character of Petrushka, a puppet come to life, was described by Stravinsky as ‘the immortal and unhappy hero of every fair-ground in all countries’.

The scandal associated with the 1913 première of Le sacré du printemps has become legendary – a scandal probably caused as much by Nijinsky’s choreography as by Stravinsky’s score. But even today, the music offers an extremely powerful experience, above all through its rhythmic qualities.

“Litton and the Bergen players are bursting with life” International Record Review

“True to form, Litton draws exceptionally clean textures from the orchestra, notably fine woodwind colouring, with a keen eye for every facet of both scores...Litton's almost neo-classical approach brings an attractive delicacy to passages such as the 'Ritual Action of the Ancestors'” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 **

“Virtuoso though the playing and conducting are, this is not a self-regarding performance but one that never loses contact with its deep Russian roots. The playing is polished and well balanced but can roughen to ferocious barbarity...This never has the sense of being played for thrills, yet the effect is all the more thrilling for coming from such depths...a worthy memorial to a fine artist.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“Andrew Litton conducts the Bergen Philharmonic in what is at times a visceral reading [of Rite]. The playing is rhythmically sharp, if not quite at Stravinsky's own breakneck speeds all the time...if you're looking for a freshly painted Petrushka or a Rite to shake you up a bit, this is shockingly good. Just make sure the neighbours are out first.” International Record Review, May 2011

“the refinement and precision of the playing are hugely impressive. Litton's care with the textures in Petrushka and his unfussy way of teasing out the instrumental strands in The Rite of Spring matches that exactness” The Guardian, 14th April 2011 ***

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Orchestral

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1474

(SACD)

$14.25

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Petrushka Ballet Suite

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Petrushka Ballet Suite


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Petrushka (1947 version)


Alto - ALC1131

(CD)

$6.25

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Stravinsky - L'Oiseau de feu & Le sacre du printemps

Stravinsky - L'Oiseau de feu & Le sacre du printemps


Stravinsky:

The Firebird

The Rite of Spring


Recording dates 7, 8 June, 14 December 2007 (L'oiseau de feu); 15, 16 November 2006, 25 June 2007 (Le sacre du printemps)

“A Jansons performance has all the comfort and security of travelling in a high-class limousine. There's still much to admire, of course, especially the woodwind playing in The Firebird, while The Rite is just a little too well manicured. If you didn't know the ballet, you'd hardly guess that this is a depiction of a pagan ritual that ends in a human sacrifice; one longs for something a bit more visceral, more dangerous.” The Guardian, 4th July 2008 ***

“The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has always traded on the subtleties of its instrumental sounds, which has made it ideal for interpreting such widely diverse music as Bruckner and Ravel. It puts this distinctive colour to good use in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, reminding us that there is far more to the work than the crash, bang and wallop of its climactic dances.” The Telegraph, 12th July 2008

“The luminous colours and weightless harmonies of the Firebird sit more comfortably with the cultured Concertgebouw than the hard-edged primitivism of the Rite of Spring. The fragrance of the "Ronde des princesses" with its leading oboe and echoing cello and bassoon lines is exquisite.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2008

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

RCO Live - RCO08002

(SACD)

$15.50

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Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100, etc.

Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring


“Karajan's 1968 Prokofiev Fifth is a great performance.
Whenever one compares it with later versions inevitably the DG account holds its place at the top of the list. The analogue recording was uncommonly good for its time.
With the advantage of the Jesus-Christus Kirche acoustics, the sound is full and spacious, naturally defined and balanced; there's a slightly leonine quality to the strings and a natural bloom on woodwind and brass. Karajan lived with the work for a decade before he recorded it and this is immediately apparent in the way the first movement unfolds so inevitably.
The ironic opening of the Scherzo with its flawless BPO articulation brings a splendid but unexaggerated bite, and in the more lyrical central section every subtle detail of colour comes over. The passionate string threnody of the Adagio (what playing, what intensity!) is superbly underpinned by darker wind murmurings; the tangibly hushed close leads naturally to the mellower opening of the essentially upbeat finale with its throbbing horns and instant echoes of Romeo and Juliet.
Karajan's Rite of Spring came a decade later and is more controversial. Stravinsky had been sarcastically scathing about the conductor's earlier 1964 account, even describing one section as 'tempo di hoochie-koochie'. So, Karajan let the work rest, and when he re-recorded it in January 1977 it was done in one single uninterrupted take.
The result has less visceral excitement than some but it's still very rewarding, combining both the symphonic and balletic aspects of this extraordinary score, with the BPO providing much sheer beauty of sound, as in the ravishing melancholy of the opening of Part II and the haunting 'Evocation des ancêtres', although other versions find more pungent drama when the horns enter later.
The Philharmonie sound is excellent and both CD transfers are expertly managed to retain the full character of the originals.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

DG Originals - 4636132

(CD)

$9.50

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