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Ballets - Released October 9, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
In describing his interpretation of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, Teodor Currentzis emphasizes the essential Russian origins of the music, and points out the folk influences that give it its cultural resonance. This is indeed the case, since the Russian and Lithuanian folk songs that Stravinsky used have been identified, and the score overflows with themes and melodic fragments that evoke an ancient tribal culture. This is perhaps the reason so much of this elastic performance of Le Sacre du printemps feels like a melodically based interpretation, rather than a sharp, rhythmic exploration, with more attention paid to articulation and phrasing than to accentuation and rhythm. While Currentzis and Musica Aeterna produce punchy moments in the expected places, they tend to slacken in subdued sections and deprive the work of the overwhelming drive and ruthless violence it needs. Opinions may vary over Currentzis' melodic approach, mainly in Part I, though from the Glorification de l'Élue to the Danse Sacrale in Part II, the orchestra kicks into gear and produces the necessary propulsion and volatility to make a convincing ending. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 27, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 1960 | Warner Classics

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Symphonic Music - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

A certain amount of acoustic reverberation is welcome in orchestral recordings, if it has been controlled for a particular effect, but it is omnipresent in Andris Nelsons' 2009 recordings of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird and the Symphony of Psalms. From the very beginning of the complete music for The Firebird, resonance dominates and creates an aural haze that is so thick that details only emerge as if from a dense fog, and the timbres of certain instruments are blurred into an echoic cloud that seems almost artificially engineered. Other recordings made in Birmingham Symphony Hall by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra certainly have a vibrant acoustic quality, but it is so strong here, it must be a product of microphone placement, mixing, or both. Be that as it may, The Firebird survives this soft-focus reproduction much better than Symphony of Psalms, because its impressionistic colors and intensely lush, chromatic harmonies are already somewhat dream-like and mysterious, whereas the dry sonorities and punchy rhythms of the symphony need a much crisper presentation than they get here. The blurred textures and harmonies that are tolerable in The Firebird become a distraction in the Symphony of Psalms, and the work's dissonant counterpoint and lean, staccato chords bleed into each other in an unsatisfactory way, despite the impressive wall of sound that's created in fortissimo sections and the glorious sound that Nelsons and the orchestra produce on cadences. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 16, 2004 | Supraphon a.s.

A huge record! A must! This is a merger of two Supraphon LPs which were released in the 1960s. Boasting a dazzling cast, with four of the greatest singers of the Czech national scene (Libuše Domanínská, Marie Mrázová, Ivo Žídek, Dalibor Jedlička!), Les Noces was recorded between the 28th and 30th of May 1964 in the Rudolfinum Studio in Prague, while the Cantata and the Mass were recorded three years later in the Domovina Studio - on the 3rd and 4th of April, and the 20th of June 1967 for the Cantata, and on the 28th and 29th of March for the Mass.Karel Ančerl's Les Noces are unforgettable in more ways than one: the rhythmic acuity and vocal and instrumental precision never obscure the very authentic, often mischievous tone of these strange 'Russian choreographic scenes'. Karel Ančerl achieves heights of poetic intensity in the final passage, in which the gamelan melody gradually encroaches upon the musical space, before triumphing immediately after Jedlička's sublime story is concluded.The other side of this 2004 reissue is no less vital. In comparison to the very fine version by Colin Davis (1964), in Karel Ančerl's hands the Cantata becomes a marvel of fluidity; the woodwinds of the Czech Philharmonic shine in the 'verses'. And the two singers, both the marvellous Barbara Robotham with her incredibly luscious tone in Ricercar I and Gerald English, perfect in style, spirit and singing (especially the high notes!), in his long and very difficult narrative segment in Ricercar II, are absolutely unmatched by any other recording of this material. This is pure poetry. A more difficult score, the Mass displays all the spirit of its darker side (Gloria), and its powerful harmonies. Once again, the Czech Philharmonic provides great moments of musical beauty. These are impressive recordings, without a doubt. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 27, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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It's appropriate to have a performance of Igor Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat performed by an ensemble featuring violinist Isabelle Faust, for this little melodrama is a bit Faustian with its story of a traveling soldier who sells his fiddle to the Devil in return for economic gain. Faust leads a jazz-like septet of violin, double bass, clarinet, cornet, bassoon, and percussion. If it does not really succeed as jazz (Stravinsky apparently gave himself a crash course in the subject, and the Ragtime section in the second part is especially distant from its American models), the music is a lively and edgy potpourri of styles that, more than anything else Stravinsky wrote, looks forward to postmodern juxtapositions. The narration of Dominique Horwitz, playing the parts of the Narrator, the Soldier, and the Devil, lies a bit uncomfortably between French and English, and there are other points on which one might quibble. Overall though, this is a performance that captures exactly what Stravinsky was trying to accomplish, and it has the energy the work must have had in 1918. The use of the English language is a bonus, and the Teldex Studio sound is excellent. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 1, 2021 | Sony Music Labels Inc.

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Classical - Released February 5, 2016 | PentaTone

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As multichannel recordings increase in popularity, Igor Stravinsky's 1913 masterpiece Le Sacre du printemps has become a kind of sonic showcase for what skilled orchestras and audiophile labels can do together. Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony offer one of the finest versions of Le Sacre on this hybrid SACD, and PentaTone's deep and resonant sound is a perfect complement to the visceral performance. The wide dynamic range, crisp execution, and vibrant instrumental colors make it a fascinating display, and the focused reproduction sorts through Stravinsky's layered textures and dense dissonances, so everything is fully audible. But most listeners will appreciate the extreme power of the bass instruments and low percussion in the dances of Part I and the shattering impact of the full orchestra in the closing pages of the Danse sacrale, which is nearly overwhelming at high volume. To complete the program, the 1919 suite from Stravinsky's L'Oiseau de Feu is included, and though the sumptuous orchestration of the Ronde des princesses and the shocking Danse infernale are not to be missed, the winning performance of this album is undoubtedly Le Sacre, which fans of the piece will want to hear again and again. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released June 3, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Exceptional Sound Recording - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Masaaki Suzuki is renowned for his exceptional BIS recordings with the Bach Collegium Japan of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, but his repertoire isn't limited to Baroque music. This 2016 hybrid SACD presents Suzuki's performances of three of Igor Stravinsky's liveliest neoclassical works, the suite from Pulcinella, the ballet Apollon musagète, and the Concerto in D for strings, all expertly played by the Tapiola Sinfonietta. The jump from Bach to Stravinsky is a large one, though fans of Suzuki's meticulous conducting style will find in him an ideal interpreter for this emotionally cool but vibrantly colorful music. The orchestra plays with electric energy, and the highly charged performances more than make up for the apparent lack of sentiment in Stravinsky's music. But listeners will note above all else that these performances offer virtuosic brilliance, and the playing has a nearly tactile physicality that accurately reflects Stravinsky's notation. This impression is aided by the phenomenal multichannel sound, which has extraordinary depth and clarity, and the musicians have a close-up presence that is well balanced with the vibrant acoustics of the Tapiola Concert Hall. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released April 29, 2013 | Sony Classical

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Leonard Bernstein's 1958 recording of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps with the New York Philharmonic is ranked among the most exciting renditions ever recorded. Indeed, Stravinsky was sufficiently impressed with this recording to exclaim, "Wow!" Additionally, it was one of the best sounding stereo versions available on a major label. Reissued by Sony for the centennial of the ballet's notorious 1913 premiere in Paris, Bernstein's legendary performance has been remastered from the original analog tapes, and though there is occasional background noise and tape hiss in exposed passages, nothing essential seems to have been lost in the transfer to digital. Some things sound better than others: the undulating chords of the Introduction to Part II have rarely sounded this full and rich, the eruptions in Glorification de l'élue are shockingly vivid, and the Danse sacrale is pungent and incisive. However, the percussion is surprisingly thin in spots in Part I, with the timpani often sounding more prominent than the bass drum, and the entire battery is somewhat underwhelming in the Danse de la terre. There are many all-digital CDs and SACDs that offer superior audio, especially in terms of a wider dynamic range and acoustic resonance, and even acknowledging the excellence of this recording for its time, Columbia didn't have the technology to match today's state-of-the-art audio. All the same, Bernstein certainly gets the orchestra to play in top form, and his elastic tempos in the slow sections and driven pacing in the fast ones keep the listener spellbound. There are no perfect recordings of Le Sacre du printemps, but it's easy to see why this one has stood the test of time and become a favorite of many. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1973 | Warner Classics

Recorded during Charles Dutoit's flamboyant youth, when he was considered Ernest Ansermet's successor in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, this album is still perfectly fresh fully fifty years after it was made. It is a pity that there are no liner notes to contextualise a recording that has marked its time. The very young Dutoit had worked on Stravinsky's Les Noces with Ansermet, their first performer, at the age of sixteen, before following all of Stravinsky's own rehearsals at the Tanglewood Festival for the same work. He rubbed shoulders daily with the old composer, whom this young man pleasantly reminded of his own youth in the canton of Vaud: Les Noces and Renard date back to the collaboration between Stravinsky, Ansermet and the poet Charles Ferdinand Ramuz.Made in September 1972, only a few months after Stravinsky's death, this recording featured instrumentalists from the Bern Symphony Orchestra, of which Charles Dutoit was the director before his departure for Montreal. The young soloists present on this record all went on to achieve brilliant careers, starting with Martha Argerich, Dutoit's wife at the time, as well as pianist Nelson Freire, singers Basia Retchitzka, Arlette Chédel, Eric Tappy, Pierre-André Blaser (spelt Blazer on the cover), Philippe Huttenlocher and Jules Bastin.It is of course the original French version of the two works, based on Ramuz's text, which is presented here, further enhanced by the perfect diction of the singers, and completed by the Ragtime for 18 instruments, composed in 1918 in the wake of L'Histoire du soldat, which was, moreover, Dutoit's first recording for the Erato label, and made a few months earlier. This fabulous record is also a story of youth and of the friendship between all the protagonists as well as a sensational performance of energy, swing and humour, with a clear and precise sound recording by Peter Willemoës, the sound engineer who worked wonders in the golden age of the French label. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 27, 2010 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
PentaTone Classics usually deals in high-end reissues of older recordings, particularly those drawn from the Philips catalog. However, upon encountering this recording of Stravinsky with Philippe Herreweghe, the Collegium Vocale Gent, and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, one cannot be blamed for taking pause to wonder, "Now who did Herreweghe record this for -- Erato? Harmonia Mundi?" No sir or ma'am; Herreweghe has never recorded Stravinsky's Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Mass, Chorale Variations on "Von Himmel Hoch," or the Symphony of Psalms before, nor any other Stravinsky for that matter. This is a NEW PentaTone recording, a live one made in Antwerp in 2008. Contrary to expectation, Herreweghe does not conduct the Monumentum pro Gesualdo as though it was Gesualdo, and moreover, it's a pretty straitlaced and sober performance to boot, though it's more of a bloodless coup than Stravinsky's own recording, made in 1960. The Mass is both well sung and well coordinated; a very neat and tidy performance, but too fast tempo wise; one wonders during the Sanctus "what is he trying to do, catch a bus?" The Chorale Variations on "Von Himmel Hoch" is better in terms of pacing, though there are moments of lax coordination among the winds; this is, after all, live. This issue is ironed out in the Symphony of Psalms. As in the case of the Monumentum pro Gesualdo, the Symphony of Psalms is a pretty good performance, though at times the orchestral balance seems a little off-kilter; nevertheless, the second movement packs a punch. Although this is a hybrid multichannel disc, sometimes there are little inequities of sound; the winds in the Mass have a tendency to overpower the singers, and within the Collegium Vocale Gent at times the gents seem a bit louder than the ladies. There is no questioning Herreweghe's strong showing in Baroque literature; particularly in Bach cantatas. However, Herreweghe has dipped into modern repertoire here and there and usually with the same or similar results as on this PentaTone disc. The 20th century is just not Herreweghe's strong suit, and one wonders why he keeps trying to play his hand in it, though this is not all bad; just not quite the strong showing one would hope it to be. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 2, 2021 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Ballets - Released March 1, 2011 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
For this 2011 SACD, Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra delivered meticulous and sonically transparent readings of Igor Stravinsky's classic ballets, the original 1911 version of Petrushka and the revised 1947 version of Le Sacre du printemps. Because these performances and the DSD recordings are so clear and pristine, one gets the impression that the goal was to showcase the sound of the pieces above all other considerations. To the extent that the music is executed with an eye to precision and an ear to every detail, Petrushka and Le Sacre almost seem to lack personal interpretations or even little liberties of expression, but seem instead to be closely studied and clinical. Still, since the music is Stravinsky's, the pursuit of musical objectivity is wholly appropriate, and Litton is certainly right to be self-effacing and to let the music speak for itself, because the true brilliance of these scores only becomes apparent when there is minimal interference from a conductor. Of the two performances, Petrushka holds the most surprises, because this version is played less often than Stravinsky's revised version and has a rougher, more experimental quality, as well as material that was later cut. Le Sacre is completely familiar and offers less novelty, but it is such an exacting reading, details that are often overlooked become important features, and the startling clarity of the playing makes this a riveting performance that listeners will want to hear again and again. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Ballets - Released November 2, 2018 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Mariss Jansons has been enormously successful in his live recordings of late- and post-Romantic symphonies, and he has made a strong case for 19th century orchestral music in general, though his catalog of performances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on BR Klassik shows little representation of modernist works, aside from Britten's War Requiem in 2013 and Stravinsky's Petrushka in 2015. Flash forward to 2018, with this fairly routine pairing of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps and the suite from L'Oiseau de feu, and it might indicate a trend, perhaps because Jansons has nearly exhausted the heavily Germanic repertoire he has championed since the millennium and needs fresh material. His performance of Le Sacre du printemps doesn't rank with the all-time greats because it doesn't offer any revelations or details in the score or original interpretive ideas, but it has sufficient rhythmic energy and instrumental color to be counted as a respectable reading, and would be worth following with a score. The performance of L'Oiseau de feu similarly has everything in place to make it acceptable, though anyone looking for an exciting and innovative interpretation should look elsewhere, because Jansons' offering essentially accords with Stravinsky's 1967 recording of the suite with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, so it may be regarded as a standard performance with a pedigree. With this release, Jansons may be preparing to pursue a different direction from his customary material, but he needs to explore pieces beyond Stravinsky's great ballets to make his intentions known. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 5, 2014 | Actes Sud Musicales

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Theatre Music - Released August 10, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 3F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Composed by Stravinsky in 1933 in the wake of the French oratorio fashion whose figureheads are Milhaud (Les Choéphores) and Honegger (Le Roi David, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher), and his own Oedipus Rex, Perséphone sanctifies the French period of the Russian composer, after he left Switzerland and before he settled definitely in the United States. Ordered by Ida Rubinstein, to whom music history already owed Debussy’s Martyre de Saint-Sébastien and Ravel’s Boléro, this melodrama, profane in its story and hybrid regarding its musical form, glorifies spring -without it being a new “Consecration” in its language) on a text by André Gide, thus prolonging the emotion created by the novel Si le grain ne meurt. The three acts of the work (Perséphone enlevée, Perséphone aux enfers, Perséphone renaissante) are close to human nature and psyche with an empathy reinforced by Stravinsky’s music. Conceived for a tenor (Eumolpe), a narrator, a mixed chorus, a chidren’s chorus and an orchestra, this work, so original in the production of its author, has however never found its audience. People long blamed Stravinsky for wringing the neck of the prosody of Gide’s text without understanding that it was however one of its more sensitive works, possessed with a melodic verve, a clear lyricism and a warmth for which he wasn’t known for. Under Esa-Pekka Salonen’s inspired and aerial baton, Perséphone finds here a second youth which might finally allow it to impose itself to a new generation of music lovers. This “strange profane mass” (as described by Marcel Marnat) is probably one of the most touching works of a composer that is always looking for new springs. © François Hudry/Qobuz