Un spectacle inoubliable autour de trois ballets de Stravinsky, avec notamment Le sacre du printemps dans la version originale de Nijinski.
A Russian folk tale in two scenes. Serge de Diaghilev heard Stravinsky for the first time on 6 February 1909, the day when his Fantastic Scherzo and Fireworks were created. Diaghilev was extremely impressed by this last work. Since his Ballets Russes had already performed for a season in Paris in 1909 and were a great success, he wished to repeat the experience the following year and include a brand new work inspired by the legend of the Firebird.
Mehta's is a performance of extremes, of tempo as well as dynamic, and the CBS recording—which has oddities of balance but which in general is more spacious and less closely focused than one expects on this label— underlines the contrasts.
Overall the sound is breathtakingly vivid with tremendous impact but plenty of space round it, so that the heavyweight bass drum and multiple timpani beats leading into the "Glorification of the Chosen One" in Part 2 are as shattering as I have ever known them, matching the violently immediate recordings of Solti (Decca) and Abbado (DG).(Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, July 1978)
Violinist Benjamin Beilman makes his debut as an exclusive Warner Classics artist with Spectrum, an album uniting works by Schubert, Janáček, Stravinsky and Kreisler. With his regular duo partner, pianist Yekwon Sunwoo – a fellow alumnus of Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute – Beilman explores a multitude of colours and expressive possibilities, evoking them with the finest technical nuances.
Marios Papadopoulos plays Janacek's sonata with a gentle, romanticizing melancholy that is nature can well encompass, even if such an approach can diminish the work's sense of tragedy. It is a work with a tougher core than is here suggested. However, this is not an unattractive performance, and Papadopoulos seems more attuned to its manner than to the crisp assertions of the Capriccio or of Stravinsky's Concerto. It does not seem a good idea to attempt the Capriccio without a conductor. The admirable RPO players sound less than wholly comfortable, and their ensemble is a trifle precarious at times; moreover, the work's odd, sharp character does not emerge with sufficient definition.
Three 20th-century orchestral scores, Bartók’s Two Pictures, Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, all dating from 1910-13 and all linked (as the detailed CD booklet explains), are brought to life in the hands of two exceptional French pianists. The central interest is the ballet Jeux. One of the world’s outstanding Debussy interpreters, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has added to his complete Chandos recordings with his own transcription for two pianos. Written late in Debussy’s life for Nijinsky, Jeux involves an emotionally erotic and harmonically daring game of tennis. Bavouzet and his well-matched partner, François-Fréderic Guy, play with nimble grace, capturing the works wit and mystery. This gripping album is dedicated to Pierre Boulez, guru and enabler, for his 90th birthday.
This work is very hard to characterize emotionally, but it sighs and it sings enigmatically. Surprisingly, so many performances are very straightforward, never capturing these soulful, longing qualities that almost approach reverie at times. Not so this time. The interplay here is amazing, Pires' delicate approach is ideal for this music, and the conducting is elastic in that "Furtwanglerian" way. But don't get the impression this is bloated, Romantic Mozart…it's not. (Maybe Furtwangler wasn't the right name to evoke after all.
Maria-Joào Pires has recorded these concertos before, for Erato, and this experience shows in assured playing. In K449 I find the sound of the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in Vienna's Musikverein, too big: the string section seems large and the hall over-reverberant. Furthermore, the piano sounds plummy, and even those who dislike the fortepiano may question its suitability. With these reservations, one can enjoy Pires's deft and sensitive performance, without strong individuality but offering consistent intelligence, and the brisk finale shows her and Abbado at their best. Even so, this is a romanticized slow movement; the gooey orchestral sound does not help, but the pianist is also partly responsible in a way that I have sometimes noted in her performances of Mozart's sonatas.
Deutsche Grammophon has another excellent Schumann Concerto in its catalog, the Pollini/Abbado, with the Berlin Philharmonic, coupled with a good but not great Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Not surprisingly, Pollini is more muscular and evenly balanced in the Schumann, even if he is, as usual, a bit straitlaced. Pires is always the sensitive and probing artist, or so it seems. Here, she is alert from the opening descending chords to the expressive potential in every bar. She puts much more thinking and feeling in her interpretation than Pollini and most others I've heard.
Had Pergolesi not died young, his name would rank among the most stellar and influential of Italy’s 18th-century composers. Despite the brevity of his life – he died at 26 – Pergolesi created numerous deathless works
In this second album of Claudio Abbado’s Pergolesi Project, the renowned maestro conducts the Missa S. Emidio, Manca la guida al pie, Laudate pueri Dominum, and the Salve Regina in F minor. Abbado’s passion for this music meets these sacred compositions on the exalted level where they were composed… (The Times)