Friday, July 30, 2010

Stravinsky - Firebird, Petrushka - Rattle, Co Birmingham SO 2CD


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Originally recorded in 1986 and 1987 and issued as two separate albums, this 2003 compilation pairs two of Igor Stravinsky's most popular ballets, and offers some less familiar but fascinating works as filler. Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  deliver exciting performances of The Firebird and Petrushka in their complete versions, and these will come as a revelation to those who only know the concert suites. The Igor Stravinskyrecordings are clearly detailed, vibrantly colorful, and emotionally compelling, and are especially recommended to beginners as excellent introductions to Stravinsky's music. In its jovial "Shrovetide Fair" atmosphere, the Scherzo à la Russe is a close cousin to Petrushka, and appears here in two enjoyable versions, one for jazz band and the other in the ebullient orchestral arrangement. The spiky Symphony in Three Movements, based in part on material for a scrapped piano concerto, and the Etudes (4) for orchestra, an arrangement of the Pieces (3) for string quartet and the Etude for Pianola, are less immediately accessible, but Stravinsky buffs will find them rewarding on repeated listening. An EMI/Gemini double-disc, this affordable reissue is sure to please collectors and newcomers alike for its masterful performances and high quality sound. ~ Blair Sanderson, Rovi 

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