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Stravinsky: Rite of Spring & The Firebird
The fifth recording of Tugan Sokhiev and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse on naïve is dedicated to one of the major music works of the 20th century, Stravinsky’s 'Rite of Spring', which will turn 100 years in 2013.
Also featuring the 'The Firebird' and offering illustrations that enhance the special atmosphere of those works, this set includes a bonus DVD with a live performance of 'Rite of Spring' from the unforgettable concert that opened last season for the orchestra, now considered one of the best French ensembles.
Tugan Sokhiev’s career is moving ahead fast. Besides his activity as Music Director at Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, with whom he will tour Japan, Germany, Austria, Poland and China this season, he 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.
“It's The Firebird that takes the honours here, especially the marvellously descriptive woodwind allied to the tiptoeing pizzicato strings. Here, Sokhiev seems to have penetrated to the fantastic, mythical heart of the piece.” The Independent, 12th January 2013 ***
“These are broad, big-boned accounts; if the Rite’s final chord isn’t cataclysmic, what goes before is convulsive and compelling.” Sunday Times, 20th January 2013
“Sokhiev's Rite of Spring takes heed of the work's many textural contrasts, with plenty of bite and bounce from the strings in the 'Mystical Circles of the Young Girls' and darkly wailing lower strings in 'Spring Rounds'...I'd call it a driven performance rather than especially elemental” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013
“Sokhiev's new recording with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse seems aimed at younger listeners, and would form a fine starting point for school projects...there's a DVD of the performance of The Rite of Spring that focuses on whichever instrument is prominent at any given time, and films Sokhiev from the relevant player's viewpoint, giving a real sense of what it's like to be in an orchestra.” The Guardian, 7th February 2013 ****
“As for the performances, these are polished and duly exciting...as an imaginative introduction to the world of the ballets, this is a welcome set.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 ****
“Under Sokhiev the Toulouse orchestra plays The Rite with great skill and brilliance making an impressively unified sound. I felt that Sokhiev was somewhat cautious in his approach...[In The Firebird] the Toulouse orchestra under the calm, firm Sokhiev’s direction fare much better. Their playing has an abundance of drama that produces a glorious wash of warm sound.” MusicWeb International, 17th June 2013
“the near-choreographic performance of Sokhiev himself is fascinating. His gestures and cues are an object lesson in conducting expertise” International Record Review, June 2013
Stravinsky: The Ballets
This collection brings together four great ballets by Stravinsky – The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring and Apollon musagète, in definitive performances, stunningly recorded, by Antal Dorati and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Also included is the early orchestral work Scherzo fantastique, which was first performed as a ballet by the New York City Ballet in 1972 with choreography by Jerome Robbins.
Stravinsky first made a name for himself with his colourful score for the ballet The Firebird, influenced by his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov, but already giving an indication of things to come. His next ballet, Petrushka, showed significant development, but hardly prepared audiences for the premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on 29 May 1913, which caused a riot. It was the most significant event in 20th century classical music and the shock of this revolutionary score can still be felt today.
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Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps & Bartók: Sonata for two Pianos and Percussion
Frank-Immo Zichner & Frank Gutschmidt (pianos)
This CD pairs two major works of the 20th century. Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet score Le Sacre du Printemps appears in the composer’s own arrangement for two pianos, whilst the other work on the disc is Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. The keyboard players are Frank-Immo Zichner and Frank Gutschmidt, and the percussionists in the Bartok piece are Dominic Oelze and Torsten Schönfeld.
While the full score of Stravinsky’s ground-breaking 1912 ballet Le Sacre du Printemps experiments with novel playing techniques and highly innovative orchestration, in the composer’s own arrangement for two pianos, recorded here, it is the rhythmical aspects of the music that are prominent. The Hungarian composer Béla Bartók became acquainted with “Le Sacre” through this version in the 1920s, and it greatly influenced his composing technique. Although Stravinsky moved away from folk music after his Russian period, it played an important part in Bartók’s music throughout his life. The Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion incorporates a synthesis of the stylistic developments of his own time and folk music.
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Leonard Bernstein conducts Stravinsky & Sibelius
Fairfield Halls, Croydon, London, 27 November 1966
Humphrey Burton interviews Leonard Bernstein (BONUS)
LONDON, NOVEMBER 1966
‘Luckily for all of us, it wasn’t enough for Leonard Bernstein to compose music and conduct orchestras. He felt equally compelled to talk about music – to try and explain what made it tick, what made it good, and what made it affect us in all the ways that music does. The other piece of good luck was that Leonard Bernstein and television came along at the same time. They were born for each other.’ (Jamie Bernstein)
The films on this DVD are taken from the ‘Symphonic Twilight’ series of TV programmes made in the mid-Sixties that were the brainchild of Humphrey Burton, then the newly appointed Head of Music and Arts Programmes for the BBC.
In his booklet notes for this DVD, Burton reveals himself to have been instrumental in bringing Bernstein the conductor to the wider British public, who knew him foremost as the composer of West Side Story. In 1965 Burton persuaded Bernstein to conduct the LSO at the Royal Albert Hall and the resulting Mahler 8 was a spectacular occasion, broadcast to the nation.
The following year, they put together these programmes, filmed specifically for the new television audience. The works Bernstein chose to record are twentieth-century orchestral masterpieces, for which he is known to be a champion. His recordings of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony for CBS Records and Deutsche Grammophon were acclaimed by critics worldwide, and his interpretation of The Rite of Spring in 1959 elicited an enthusiastic ‘Wow!’ from Stravinsky himself! They are accompanied on this DVD by an in-depth interview, given here as a bonus and subtitled in French and German.
Sound format: Enhanced Mono
DVD format: NTSC
Picture format: 4:3
Running time: 83’
Menu languages: English
Booklet languages: E/F/G
Region code: 0
Territory Restrictions: None
“Thrilling performances from 1966. The Rite generates tremendous tension, while the Sibelius is liked for drama and lyricism. No wonder Bernstein starts as Jekyll and finishes looking like Hyde.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 ****
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Stravinsky: Les Ballets Russes
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Adoration of the Earth
Andrew Layton (soprano saxophone), Timothy Young (piano), Jeff Lopez (double bass), Michael Johnston (flugelhorn), Steve Lesche (guitar), Michael Bravin (trombone), Jeff Adams (trombone), Paul White (baritone saxophone), Brad Danho (tenor saxophone), Josh Fox (alto saxophone), Pat Shook (tenor saxophone)
Mobtown Moderb Big Band, Darryl Brenzel