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Andris Nelsons|Stravinsky : The Firebird - A Symphony of Psalms

Stravinsky : The Firebird - A Symphony of Psalms

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

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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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Stravinsky : The Firebird - A Symphony of Psalms

Andris Nelsons

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The Firebird

1
Introduction
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:36

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

2
Scene 1: Night. Kastchei's Enchanted Garden
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:54

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

3
Scene 1: The Firebird enters, pursued by Ivan Tsarevich
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:24

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

4
Scene 1: The Firebird's Dance
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:24

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

5
Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:00:54

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

6
Scene 1: The Firebird begs to be released
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:05:45

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

7
Scene 1: Entrance of the Thirteen Enchanted Princesses
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:14

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

8
Scene 1: The Princesses play with the golden apples (Scherzo)
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:30

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

9
Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich appears
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:19

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

10
Scene 1: The Princesses' Khorovod (Round Dance)
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:04:55

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

11
Scene 1: Daybreak
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:23

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

12
Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich, entering Kastchei's palace …
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:00:05

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

13
Scene 1: Magic Carillon - Appearance of Kastchei's Guardian Monsters - Capture of Ivan Tsarevich
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:27

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

14
Scene 1: The entrance of Kastchei the Immortal
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:11

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

15
Scene 1: Dialogue between Kastchei and Ivan Tsarevich
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:10

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

16
Scene 1: The Princesses plead for mercy
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:09

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

17
Scene 1: The Firebird enters
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:00:36

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

18
Scene 1: Dance of Kastchei's retinue under the Firebird's magic spell
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:00:50

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

19
Scene 1: Infernal Dance of Kastchei and his subjects under the Firebird's magic spell
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:04:45

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

20
Scene 1: The Firebird's Lullaby
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:46

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

21
Scene 1: Kastchei awakens
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:03

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

22
Scene 1: Kastchei's death
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:00:06

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

23
Scene 1: Profonds tenebres
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:01:43

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

24
Scene 2: Kastchei's spell is broken, his palace disappears, and the Petrified Knights return to life. General Thanksgiving … .
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:03:08

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

Symphony of Psalms

25
I. Exaudi orationem meam, Domine
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:02:55

City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus - City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer - Bible, Lyricist

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

26
II. Expectans expectavi, Dominum
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:06:50

City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus - City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer - Bible, Lyricist

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

27
III. Alleluia. Laudate Dominum
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:11:18

City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus - City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Andris Nelsons, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer - Bible, Lyricist

(C) 2015 Orfeo (P) 2015 Orfeo

Album Description

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

Details of original recording : Recorded July 21-22, 26-27, 2009, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

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