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Igor Stravinski - Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

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Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

Igor Stravinsky

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If this Gala reissue is your first exposure to Igor Stravinsky's neo-Classical opera The Rake's Progress (1951), postpone listening to it until you've heard a good contemporary recording or two. Stravinsky's first account, recorded at the opera's premiere in Venice on September 11, 1951, is somewhat faulty in performance and deficient in sound quality, and it is mostly of historical interest. It has been superseded by Stravinsky's second, masterful performance on Columbia, and a few others, including Kent Nagano's splendid rendition on Erato and John Eliot Gardiner's popular recording on Deutsche Grammophon. Though it is exciting to hear Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the original Anne Truelove and Robert Rounseville as Tom Rakewell, the most fascinating performances to follow are Otakar Kraus' suavely diabolical (if thickly accented) Nick Shadow, Jennie Tourel's delightfully grotesque Baba the Turk, and Hugues Cuénod's comically virtuosic Sellem. But Stravinsky's conducting was off, reportedly due to nerves, and the orchestra had to slow down here and there for his benefit, when it wasn't slightly off itself. Add to this the murky and often scratchy sound of the recording, the distant microphone placement, the indistinct pronunciation, the frequent drop-out of instrumental parts, and the annoying use of a piano as a substitute for the harpsichord in the recitatives, and it becomes obvious that this presentation is not ideal for first-time listening. However, those who know The Rake well may get something out of hearing this first recording, if only a finer appreciation of the lead roles' difficulties and the numerous pitfalls in the score.

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Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

Igor Stravinski

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The Rake's Progress - Opera in 3 Acts (Igor Stravinski)

1
Act I: Prelude 00:00:29

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Act I, Scene 1: The Woods are Green - Anne, My Dear 00:04:43

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Act I, Scene 1: Here I Stand - Since It Is Not by Merit 00:02:42

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

4
Act I, Scene 1: Tom Rakewell? - Fair Lady, Gracious Gentlemen - I Wished but Once - I'll Call the Coachman, Sir 00:07:33

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Act I, Scene 1: Farewell for Now - All Is Ready, Sir - Dear Father Trulove - Laughter and Light 00:05:09

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

6
Act I, Scene 2: With Air Commanding and Weapon Handy 00:02:37

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

7
Act I, Scene 2: Come, Tom - Soon Dawn Will Glitter - Sisters of Venus, Brothers of Mars 00:05:34

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Martha Lipton, Main Artist, Mezzo-Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

8
Act I, Scene 2: Love, Too Frequently Betrayed - How Sad a Song - The Sun Is Bright, the Grass Is Green 00:03:39

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Martha Lipton, Main Artist, Mezzo-Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

9
Act I, Scene 2: Lanterloo, My Lady 00:02:35

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Act I, Scene 3: No Word from Tom - Quietly, Night - My Father! Can I Desert Him 00:05:31

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Act I, Scene 3: I Go, I Go to Him 00:02:39

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Act II, Scene 1: Vary the Song, O London, Change! - O Nature, Green Unnatural Mother - Always the Quarry 00:07:52

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Act II, Scene 1: Master, Are You Alone? - In Youth the Panting Slave 00:04:46

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Act II, Scene 1: My Tale Shall Be Told 00:02:31

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

15
Act II, Scene 2: How Strange - O Heart Be Stronger 00:05:05

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

16
Act II, Scene 2: Anne! Here! - My Love, Am I to Remain in Here for Ever? 00:03:22

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

17
Act II, Scene 2: Could it Then Have Been Known - I Have Not Run Away 00:06:04

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

DISC 2

1
Act II, Scene 3: As I Was Saying - Come, Sweet, Come - Scorned! Abused! - My Heart Is Cold, I Cannot Weep - Fa la la - Oh, I Wish It Were True 00:05:40

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Act II, Scene 3: You! O Nick, I've Had the Strangest Dream - Thanks to This Excellent Device - Forgive Me, Master 00:05:57

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Act III, Scene 1: Ruin, Disaster, Shame 00:02:52

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

4
Act III, Scene 1: Aha! 00:05:43

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Paul Franke, Main Artist, Tenor - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Act III, Scene 1: Sold! Annoyed! - Now What Was That! - You Love Him - If Boys Had Wings 00:06:41

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Paul Franke, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

6
Act III, Scene 1: I Go to Him - Who Cares a Fig 00:02:03

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Paul Franke, Main Artist, Tenor - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

7
Act III, Scene 2: Prelude 00:01:55

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

8
Act III, Scene 2: How Dark and Dreadful Is This Place 00:04:14

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

9
Act III, Scene 2: Very Well, Then, My Dear and Good Tom - Well, Then - My Heart Is Wild with Fear 00:08:52

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Act III, Scene 2: I Burn! I Burn! I Freeze! 00:03:37

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Act III, Scene 3: Prepare Yourselves, Heroic Shades - Madmen's Words Are All Untrue - Leave All Love and Hope Behind 00:03:58

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Act III, Scene 3: There He Is. Have No Fear - I Have Waited - In a Foolish Dream - I Am Exceedingly Weary 00:06:16

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Lawrence Davidson, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Act III, Scene 3: Gently, Little Boat - Anne, My Dear, the Tale Is Ended Now - Every Wearied Body 00:05:46

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Act III, Scene 3: Where Art Thou, Venus? - Mourn for Adonis 00:05:11

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist - Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Associated Performer

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

15
Act III, Scene 3: Good People, Just a Moment 00:02:36

Igor Stravinsky, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist - Norman Scott, Main Artist - Hilde Guden, Main Artist, Soprano - Eugene Conley, Main Artist, Tenor - Mack Harrell, Baritone, Main Artist - Blanche Thebom, Contralto, Main Artist - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associated Performer - W.H. Auden, Librettist - Chester Kallman, Librettist

(P) 1953 Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

If this Gala reissue is your first exposure to Igor Stravinsky's neo-Classical opera The Rake's Progress (1951), postpone listening to it until you've heard a good contemporary recording or two. Stravinsky's first account, recorded at the opera's premiere in Venice on September 11, 1951, is somewhat faulty in performance and deficient in sound quality, and it is mostly of historical interest. It has been superseded by Stravinsky's second, masterful performance on Columbia, and a few others, including Kent Nagano's splendid rendition on Erato and John Eliot Gardiner's popular recording on Deutsche Grammophon. Though it is exciting to hear Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the original Anne Truelove and Robert Rounseville as Tom Rakewell, the most fascinating performances to follow are Otakar Kraus' suavely diabolical (if thickly accented) Nick Shadow, Jennie Tourel's delightfully grotesque Baba the Turk, and Hugues Cuénod's comically virtuosic Sellem. But Stravinsky's conducting was off, reportedly due to nerves, and the orchestra had to slow down here and there for his benefit, when it wasn't slightly off itself. Add to this the murky and often scratchy sound of the recording, the distant microphone placement, the indistinct pronunciation, the frequent drop-out of instrumental parts, and the annoying use of a piano as a substitute for the harpsichord in the recitatives, and it becomes obvious that this presentation is not ideal for first-time listening. However, those who know The Rake well may get something out of hearing this first recording, if only a finer appreciation of the lead roles' difficulties and the numerous pitfalls in the score.

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