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London Symphony Orchestra|Stravinsky: Apollon musagète; Suites for Small Orchestra; 4 Norwegian Moods; Circus Polka

Stravinsky: Apollon musagète; Suites for Small Orchestra; 4 Norwegian Moods; Circus Polka

London Symphony Orchestra

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What a pleasure to rediscover Igor Markevitch's Stravinsky recordings made for the Philips label in the early 1960s with the London Symphony Orchestra! Stravinsky had a major influence on Markevitch, who knew the composer well, and Markevitch championed him assiduously, both in recordings and in concerts. His two recordings of The Rite of Spring, both with the Philharmonia Orchestra (His Master's Voice), released in 1951 (mono) and 1960 (stereo), remain the uncontested great successes in the discography of the work.

Over the four days, the 17th, 18th, 26th and 30th of October 1963, in London's Wembley Town Hall, the Ukrainian-born musician chose Apollon musagète4 Impressions norvégiennesSuites Nos. 1 et 2 pour petit ensemble, and Circus Polka for a young elephant - five works rarely recorded except, to be sure, by the composer (CBS) or Ernest Ansermet and his Suisse Romande Orchestra on the rival Decca label.


Let us chance a brief comparison between the Suites of the two pioneering conductors and friends of the composer. If Igor Markevitch benefits from a superior, unquestionably more virtuoso orchestra, Ernest Ansermet deploys irresistible poetic spells; for example, the Swiss conductor's very 'breathed' phrasing is very sensual, present at the beginning (Andante) of the Suite n° 1 pour petit orchestre and even in the Polka from Suite n° 2 clearly differs from that of his colleague, which is a little colder, but whose balance is regal and quite charming. Igor Markevitch's touch is angular and mischievous, Ernest Ansermet wishes to present a more sensitive dimension of a composer sometimes reputed to have no regard for expression.

Even so, for this English session from 1963, Igor Markevitch chose a work by Stravinsky that is very difficult to perform, Apollon musagète, composed for string ensemble in 1928. A 'white' ballet requiring extraordinary poetic imagination and, in particular, unprecedented variety in phrasing and expression. Markevitch reveals all the secrets of this mysterious score to the London Symphony Orchestra, and he is able to display its polyphonic fullness as well as its tender poetry (Apollon et les trois musesApollon et Terpsichore). Under his baton, the Apothéose of the ballet, one of the composer's most extraordinary and moving scores, here with exemplary polyphonic clarity, becomes a new "Fairy Garden" from which all forms of horizon have been removed. An unquestionable work of reference for Apollon musagète, which can be challenged only by Antal Doráti with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Decca, 1982) or Alexander Janiczek with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Linn, 2009).

Another exemplary success is that of the 4 Impressions norvégiennes (1942), one of Stravinsky's least known scores. Markevitch offers a graceful and often very lyrical version. The Song is one of the most captivating moments on this 1965 LP: here, in particular, there seems to be an extra harmony between the music, the orchestra, and the sumptuous sound recording—what beautiful midrange registers! What woodwind! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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Stravinsky: Apollon musagète; Suites for Small Orchestra; 4 Norwegian Moods; Circus Polka

London Symphony Orchestra

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Apollon Musagète (1947 Version) (Igor Stravinsky)

1
1. Birth of Apollo
00:05:23

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

2
2. Variation of Apolllo (Apollo and the Muses)
00:02:51

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

3
3. Pas d'action (Apollo and the 3 Muses)
00:05:23

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

4
4. Variation of Calliope (The Alexandrine)
00:01:31

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

5
5. Variation of Polyhymnia
00:01:15

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

6
6. Variation of Terpsichore
00:01:32

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

7
7. Variation of Apollo
00:02:44

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

8
8. Pas de deux (Apollo and Terpsichore)
00:04:22

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

9
9. Coda
00:03:19

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

10
10. Apotheosis
00:03:48

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

Suite No. 1 for Small Orchestra (Igor Stravinsky)

11
1. Andante
00:01:19

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

12
2. Napolitana
00:01:04

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

13
3. Española
00:01:06

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

14
4. Balalaika
00:01:00

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra (Igor Stravinsky)

15
1. March
00:01:26

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

16
2. Waltz
00:01:40

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

17
3. Polka
00:00:51

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

18
4. Galop
00:01:57

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

4 Norwegian Moods (Igor Stravinsky)

19
1. Intrada
00:02:26

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

20
2. Song
00:02:35

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

21
3. Wedding Dance
00:01:16

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

22
4. Cortège
00:02:16

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

23
Stravinsky: Circus Polka for a Young Elephant
00:03:18

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Igor Markevitch, Conductor, MainArtist - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer

℗ 1965 Universal International Music B.V.

Album Description

What a pleasure to rediscover Igor Markevitch's Stravinsky recordings made for the Philips label in the early 1960s with the London Symphony Orchestra! Stravinsky had a major influence on Markevitch, who knew the composer well, and Markevitch championed him assiduously, both in recordings and in concerts. His two recordings of The Rite of Spring, both with the Philharmonia Orchestra (His Master's Voice), released in 1951 (mono) and 1960 (stereo), remain the uncontested great successes in the discography of the work.

Over the four days, the 17th, 18th, 26th and 30th of October 1963, in London's Wembley Town Hall, the Ukrainian-born musician chose Apollon musagète4 Impressions norvégiennesSuites Nos. 1 et 2 pour petit ensemble, and Circus Polka for a young elephant - five works rarely recorded except, to be sure, by the composer (CBS) or Ernest Ansermet and his Suisse Romande Orchestra on the rival Decca label.


Let us chance a brief comparison between the Suites of the two pioneering conductors and friends of the composer. If Igor Markevitch benefits from a superior, unquestionably more virtuoso orchestra, Ernest Ansermet deploys irresistible poetic spells; for example, the Swiss conductor's very 'breathed' phrasing is very sensual, present at the beginning (Andante) of the Suite n° 1 pour petit orchestre and even in the Polka from Suite n° 2 clearly differs from that of his colleague, which is a little colder, but whose balance is regal and quite charming. Igor Markevitch's touch is angular and mischievous, Ernest Ansermet wishes to present a more sensitive dimension of a composer sometimes reputed to have no regard for expression.

Even so, for this English session from 1963, Igor Markevitch chose a work by Stravinsky that is very difficult to perform, Apollon musagète, composed for string ensemble in 1928. A 'white' ballet requiring extraordinary poetic imagination and, in particular, unprecedented variety in phrasing and expression. Markevitch reveals all the secrets of this mysterious score to the London Symphony Orchestra, and he is able to display its polyphonic fullness as well as its tender poetry (Apollon et les trois musesApollon et Terpsichore). Under his baton, the Apothéose of the ballet, one of the composer's most extraordinary and moving scores, here with exemplary polyphonic clarity, becomes a new "Fairy Garden" from which all forms of horizon have been removed. An unquestionable work of reference for Apollon musagète, which can be challenged only by Antal Doráti with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Decca, 1982) or Alexander Janiczek with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Linn, 2009).

Another exemplary success is that of the 4 Impressions norvégiennes (1942), one of Stravinsky's least known scores. Markevitch offers a graceful and often very lyrical version. The Song is one of the most captivating moments on this 1965 LP: here, in particular, there seems to be an extra harmony between the music, the orchestra, and the sumptuous sound recording—what beautiful midrange registers! What woodwind! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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