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

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Transcriptions for Two Pianists

Transcriptions for Two Pianists


Bartók:

Two Pictures, (Op.10) Sz. 46

Transcription for two pianos by Zoltán Kocsis

Debussy:

Jeux - Poème dansé

Transcription for two pianos by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Transcription for piano four hands by Igor Stravinsky


These two-piano transcriptions played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and François-Frédéric Guy renew our experience of three great orchestral works, each of which was premiered in 1913.

Bavouzet’s version of Jeux is, like any fine transcription, far more than a memento of the original. Not only the trills and tremolandos needed on the piano to maintain sustained notes and chords, but also the interplay between the pianists, lines and motifs bouncing between them, become active participants in an intimate music of undulant ambiguity, dream, and darkness.

‘In Full Flower’, the first of the Two Pictures by Bartók, is often taken as his most Debussian composition thanks to his exploration of new scales and harmonic worlds. However, in bringing out its luxuriant and blossoming Hungarian aspects, Zoltán Kocsis emphasises rather its fully Bartókian character, which Bavouzet has conveyed to wide critical praise. The two ‘pictures’ here provide a route from Debussy’s world of erotic reverie to Stravinsky’s of ancient ritual. The thundering and the bells of the two pianos in full and accurate fury make this version of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps hardly less forceful in the hands of these two dazzling and virtuosic pianists.

“Bavouzet and his well-matched partner, François-Fréderic Guy, play with nimble grace, capturing the works wit and mystery. This gripping album is dedicated to Pierre Boulez, guru and enabler, for his 90th birthday.” The Observer, 14th June 2015 ****

“The programme works brilliantly, allowing us to hear the music as the composers did when they worked on these masterpieces and, in the case of the Rite, in the form in which it was most often played in the years after the premiere. Any losses in orchestral palette are compensated for by the clarity and wide range of colours at the pianists’ disposal.” Sunday Times, 7th June 2015

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and François-Frédéric Guy get every subtle detail in place.” Financial Times, 20th June 2015

“Fabulous playing from a pair of completely on-form pianists, which lends The Rite of Spring’s rhythmic themes a quite thrilling intensity.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2015

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Bartók: The Miraculous Man

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Bartók: The Miraculous Man


Bartók:

The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19, Sz. 73 (suite)

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring


Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Sylvain Cambreling

“Cambreling is an intelligent conductor who has the music securely in his grasp and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra is a well-groomed ensemble but both works cry out for extra drive” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

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Stravinsky, Ravel & Gershwin

Stravinsky, Ravel & Gershwin

Transcriptions and original piano works


Gershwin:

Preludes (3)

Rhapsody in Blue

solo piano version

Ravel:

La Valse

piano version

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

arrangement for piano by Sam Raphling


Eric Ferrand-N’Kaoua (piano)

Stravinsky’s groundbreaking Rite of Spring is heard on this recording in the formidable yet seldom performed solo piano transcription by the 20th-century American composer and pianist Sam Raphling. It is coupled with Ravel’s own virtuosic transcription of La Valse, Gershwin’s jazz-infused 3 Preludes and his own solo piano version of Rhapsody in Blue.

Key Features: This recording is a genuine pianistic event. It gathers together a long tradition for arrangement-making and originality in repertoire of which the solo versions are rarely heard in the concert hall. These feature a stunningly distinctive piano transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and original solo versions of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s La Valse. Eric Ferrand-N’Kaoua has been acclaimed for his natural sense of phrasing and color, but in this case it is the colors of an entire orchestra which are demanded by Sam Raphling’s seldom played and spectacularly virtuoso transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring which is equal in this regard to Ravel’s own solo piano version of La Valse. Gershwin’s music adds a flavor of American swing via the Three Preludes, followed by the composer’s very pure, complete piano version of his famous Rhapsody in Blue.

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Stravinsky: Sacre x 2

Stravinsky: Sacre x 2


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

(original 1913 version)

The Rite of Spring

(1967 concert version)


For the first time, a recording based entirely on the composer’s autograph score: Stravinsky’s landmark work as it might have been heard on May 29, 1913.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s landmark ballet ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’, David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich recorded two different versions of this milestone work.

This release includes both Stravinsky’s original version which famously caused one of the biggest scandals in music history, as well as the version later revised by the composer in 1967.

The original version was reconsutrcted from Stravinsky’s autograph score of the work. The autograph score is hold by the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland.

About David Zinman:

Even in his 77th year, David Zinman’s enthusiasm for new music, fresh ideas and original ways of making classical music more accessible is always at the forefront of his mind. As a music director, he has raised the standard of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra to an international level. His recordings for Arte Nova of the complete Beethoven symphonies were internationally acclaimed by critics. He has introduced new types of concerts, and made the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich one of the most enviable organizations to be part of. For Arte Nova/RCA Red Seal David Zinman has recorded highly acclaimed complete symphonic cycles from composers such as Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann and Richard Strauss.

“Zinman doesn’t attempt to recreate [the] original sound world; his performances are concerned with textual and performance details. What he’s produced is in a sense a variorum edition, which compares Stravinsky’s first and last thoughts on his most celebrated work...Taken together...they offer a fascinating perspective on the greatest of all icons of musical modernism.” The Guardian, 28th January 2015 ****

“The performances are in the Monteux tradition: not the most virtuosic, but theatrically paced and transparent, captured in brilliant sound.” Sunday Times, 1st February 2015

“This beautifully documented and generally fascinating release presents not one but two performances of The Rite of Spring…Zinman emphasizes subtleties of orchestral colour and takes great care to evoke atmosphere rather than relying on brute force…these enthralling new discs give us something different. They deserve to be listened to and studied with the closest attention.” International Record Review, March 2015

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Monolithen: Debussy, Zimmermann, Stravinsky

Monolithen: Debussy, Zimmermann, Stravinsky


Debussy:

En blanc et noir

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

arr for piano 4-hands by the composer

Zimmermann, B A:

Monologe

Version of 'Dialoge' for two solo pianos


piano duo huber|thomet: Susanne Huber & André Thomet

The piano works for two pianos or piano four-hands united here have quite a few inner connections. Each, in its own way, breaks down aesthetic conventions and involves vast historical and geographic horizons while demanding the highest level of virtuosity from the performers.

'En blanc et noir' [In Black and White] was created in the early days of the First World War. Claude Debussy made no secret of his disgust with the catastrophe of the war and the Germans who were responsible for it. He saw the German invasion as an attempt to destroy French culture. Therefore the title of the composition not only refers to the black and white keys of the piano keyboard, but primarily symbolises the two opposing sides in the First World War: white representing the French victims and black the German aggressors.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s 'Monologe' demands incredible technical skill from the performers. The independence of the two pianos presents a particular challenge, but so does the necessity of maintaining a sense of balance between the instruments. The composition is pervaded by a number of historical quotations. These quotations, ranging from the Gregorian chant “Veni Creator Spiritus” [Come, creative spirit] via Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy to Messiaen, transport the evolution of European music into a new, specially created sound continuum. 'Le Sacre du printemps' [The Rite of Spring] expresses in constantly shifting rhythms the elemental experience of the Russian Spring and “the close connection of the people to the earth”. Igor Stravinsky composed the work at the piano, as the initial sketches clearly reveal. The spacing of the chords and the tonal range are characteristic of the piano, so that it is only partially correct to speak of the version for piano duet as a 'reduction', in fact, it reveals the original conception of the piece.

“the Swiss duo capture its elusive moods on this recording [Debussy En blanc et noir].” Herald Scotland, 8th March 2015

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Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre Vol. 2

Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre Vol. 2

Au Carrefour de la Modernite


Busoni:

Fantasia Contrappuntistica

Debussy:

En blanc et noir

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

piano duet


Jean-Sebastien Dureau (piano) & Vincent Planes (piano)

The incredible explosion of music at the beginning of the 20th century was confronted, during the Great War, with other explosions: military, social and political. The scandalous arrival of the Sacre du printemps in 1913 gave way to creations which were more interiorized, part of history, tradition: Debussy’s En Blanc et Noir, premiered in Paris on 22 January 1916 in the ‘hôtel de Polignac’ in a concert dedicated to ‘affectionate help to musicians’; Busoni’s Fantasia contrappuntistica presented a modernity in 1910 which was not cut off from its heritage but, on the contrary, fed from it, the better to transform it.

Jean-Sébastien Dureau first studied music in Lyon, then with Jean-François Heisser, Christian Ivaldi and Alain Planès at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. He graduated in 1996 with first prizes in piano and chamber music and pursued advanced studies with Géry Moutier at the Lyon Conservatory.

In 1998, he went to study in the USA with renowned Hungarian pianist and teacher György Sebök at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. Over a two year period he had the opportunity to work with outstanding artists such as János Starker, Reiko Neriki, Franco Gulli and Leonard Hokanson. He was awarded the Artist Diploma.

An avid collaborative pianist, Vincent Planès performed in many prestigious venues in Europe and Amercia: Carnegie Hall in New York City, Jordan Hall in Boston, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Wigmore Hall in London, Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris…

Born in Annecy, he came to pursue his musical studies in the USA upon his graduation from the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. At Indiana University, he had the privilege of studying with Menahem Pressler and to serve as János Starker’s class pianist. He then undertook doctoral studies in collaborative piano at New England Conservatory with pianist Irma Vallecillo. While in America, he collaborated with many prominent artists among which violist Kim Kashkashian and violinist Itzhak Perlman were major influences on his musical development. From 2007 to 2013 he taught at the Maurice Ravel Conservatory. -

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Raskatov: Piano Concerto 'Night Butterflies' & Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Raskatov: Piano Concerto "Night Butterflies" & Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring


Raskatov:

Piano Concerto "Night Butterflies"

Tomoko Mukaiyama (piano)

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

(live recordings)


“Brilliantly orchestrated, this is as much a concerto for members of the Seattle Symphony orchestra as much as for the soloist...There is much that is excellent about Morlot and the Seattle Symphony's performance [of Rite]...Raskatov is worth hearing for those wanting to hear how Russian music has evolved from that seminal work.” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 ****

“Ludovic Morlot directs a vividly coloured performance, so much so that the opening 'Adoration of the earth' sounds almost more like Ravel than Stravinsky…the playing is undeniably brilliant, and expertly controlled by Morlot” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Version for Orchestra

Sinfonieorchester Basel, Dennis Russell Davies

The Rite of Spring

Version for Piano Four Hands

Dennis Russell Davies & Maki Namekawa (piano)


As early as spring 1910 Igor Stravinsky had a vision of a "great pagan festival" the climax of which would be the death of a young girl who dies of exhaustion after a frenzied dance, surrounded by the elders of her tribe. A further eighteen months would elapse however, during which Stravinsky consulted with the archaeologist and painter Nikolai Roerich to produce several versions of a libretto, before the composer set about realizing his vision by writing the score for this, his most famous ballet.

Initially, the score bore the working title The great sacrifice, but was then renamed The Rite of Spring, and marked the international career breakthrough for the composer, not yet 32 years old, following his two earlier ballets for Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes, Firebird and Petrushka. And it has to be said that that breakthrough came with a mighty drumroll: when Le Sacre was premiered on May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, choreographed by the young Vaslav Nijinsky and under the musical direction of Pierre Monteux, the ballet caused one of the greatest scandals in the history of music and theatre ever – though it has to be said that Nijinsky's choreography, with its stamping, twitching body movements that seem to truly mock the ideal of weightless grace normally expected in dance, was at least as much to blame as Stravinsky's music. That said, this was not a performance suited to those of a nervous disposition, since the composer had transformed the orchestra to a great extent into a gasping, snorting, and above all hammering monster producing a sound that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the elegance of traditional ballet music.

“Stravinsky designed the four-hand version as a rehearsal-aid, but as played here it fascinatingly brings out elements not obvious in the orchestral score.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 *****

“Russell Davies doesn't give us fast-lane Stravinsky. The Introduction to 'The Adoration of the Earth' approximates a slowly evolving undergrowth...this isn't the sort of performance you're likely to five up on then return to, or sample. It draws you in for the duration...Fascinating...and what's more important, utterly new.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

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Zubin Mehta conducts Stravinsky and Mahler

Zubin Mehta conducts Stravinsky and Mahler


Mahler:

Symphony No. 1 in D major 'Titan'

Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring


Australian World Orchestra, Zubin Mehta

In 2012, conductor Alex Briger brought together for the first time Australia’s orchestral diaspora - musicians born, bred or trained in Australia, now largely working overseas – and the Australian World Orchestra was born. AWO based out of Sydney, is now an annual event and this recording is the result of the orchestra working under Zubin Mehta in 2013. These performances take Briger’s original idea to a whole new level, this musical offering achieving a quality which unites musicial and artistic aspirations. Under Mehta, the AWO produces a richly coloured reading of The Rite of Spring, heard here in a revelatory pairing with Mahler’s first symphony in its original five-movement version. Mahler is a composer synonymous with Mehta. Zubin Mehta has conducted Mahler in concert extensively for over five decades the world over including orchestras sharing a direct hertitage with the composer the New York Philharmonic, of which Mehta has been their longest serving Principal conductor, and Vienna Philharmonic being two such orchestras. Mahler’s Symphony No.1 is the symphony Mehta chose to program when celebrating his 50th anniversary debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2012. AWO attracts Australian musicians from far and wide. Notable Australian’s violinist Natalie Chee, concert-master of the SWR Orchestra in Stuttgart, through to violist Toby Lea, principal viola in the Vienna Philharmonic are two of over 50 attracted back along with musical colleagues from the Bavarian Radio, Singapore Symphony, Philadelphia, Osnabruck Symphony, Comiche Opera, Chicago Symphony, and Gewandhaus Orchestras.

To the delirious Sydney Opera House audience at the conclusion of the concert and pointing to the orchestra behind him Mehta said: “Do you realise what you’ve got here?” After a resounding “Yes” from the audience, the 77-year-old maestro added: “Don’t let go of them!”

This whole project is put together in 7 days and if nothing else it is clearly evident that maestro Mehta extracts impressive energy from the assembled forces!

For downloads, see ABC359622A (Stravinsky) and ABC359622B (Mahler).

“the sense of occasion in both performances is inescapable, whether you warm to their demonstrably grandiose manner or not. The Rite of Spring throws its credentials down from the get-go...It's a lumbering beast of a performance...The Mahler is writ similarly large but, drawing upon Mehta's Viennese credentials, it has an echt authenticity and turn of phrase that is never less than enticing.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

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Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps, Petrouchka

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps, Petrouchka

recreation of the 1913 premiere


Stravinsky:

The Rite of Spring

Petrushka


One of the biggest scandals in the history of music stirred Paris as the Ballets Russes created the new ballet by Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky, 'The Rite of Spring', conducted by Pierre Monteux. To celebrate this anniversary, François- Xavier Roth, with special permission from Boosey & Hawkes and with the assistance of musicologist Louis Cyr, have endeavored to restore the 'Rite' as it was given on the evening of May 29 1913.

“Those who heard Roth and his orchestra perform The Rite of Spring at last year's Promswill remember the lithe transparency they brought to the score...But it's the Petrushka that's the real revelation here. Roth's restraint, and the elegance his woodwind players bring to their contributions, pays real dividends.” The Guardian, 29th May 2014 ***

“It’s certainly hard to imagine the first performance, under Pierre Monteux, being as well played as this...The sound of their French-made turn-of-the-century (mostly 1880s to 1920s) instruments throws fresh light on these modern masterpieces.” Sunday Times

“The textures are more pellucid, the woodwind timbres more characterful, and the music sounds springier and less brutalistic – though François-Xavier Roth could have unleashed more wildness in places.” The Times, 5th July 2014

“plenty to admire in the playing from Les Siecles … this disc is mandatory listening.” International Record Review, September 2014

“there’s a heart-lifting sense of renewal and rediscovery...these are very worthwhile performances; indeed, those who think they know these scores will be surprised at how much other performers seem to miss...Illuminating and individual.” MusicWeb International, 19th January 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - September 2014

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