Mary Ann Hart (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Bogdan (tenor), Fred Sherry (cello), Stephen Taylor (oboe), Melanie Feld (oboe and cor anglais), Michael Parloff and Bart Feller (flutes) & David Wilson-Johnson (narrator)
The Simon Joly Chorale, The Gregg Smith Singers, Orchestra of St. Luke’s & Philharmonia Orchestra, Robert Craft
“Any Stravinsky recording making the point that the 20th century's paramount composer wrote more than just a few early ballet scores (however great those are) is resoundingly welcome, and even more so at Naxos's bargain price… If you're curious to explore beyond The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, don't hesitate.” Classic FM Magazine
“This superb collection duplicates the aurally fascinating Harmonia Mundi disc (see opposite) in the Cantata and the superb Mass in fine, authoritative performances from Robert Craft.
He does not have the advantage of Carolyn Sampson among his soloists but he does have excellent choral singing, and in the glorious Symphony of Psalms the Philharmonia Orchestra on top form. This is the highlight of the programme, a superbly structured account, rich in lyrical feeling, building to the frisson-creating 'Alleluias' of the closing section. The Cantata is finely sung and played, with characteristically clear instrumental detail, and the mini-cantata Babel, with its spoken narration and choral responses, is also a success.
The programme opens with three brief Russian sacred chorales which are immediately appealing and as idomatic as one can expect from non-Russian singers. The recordings were made over a decade between 1992 and 2002 and are of good quality, with the Symphony of Psalms (2001) – made at Abbey Road – standing out on all counts. Craft is obviously uplifted by the music of the composer's supreme vocal masterpiece.
As always with Naxos, excellent documentation, with the detailed notes provided by Craft himself. A bargain!” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010