- Audio CD (May 25 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- ASIN: B00000JLEP
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,520 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Le Poème de l'extase, op. 54|
|2. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: I - Allegro|
|3. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: II - Andante|
|4. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: III - Allegro moderato|
|5. Promethee, Le Poème du Feu, op. 60|
Many critics and detractors constantly point out the overly analytical aspect of Pierre Boulez's musical interpretations, a fact he himself admitted to. However, I think that his thoughtfulness, knowledge of orchestral sonorities, attention to detail and architecture, and striving for perfection make for crisp, warm, and full-bodied interpretations.
The "Poem of Ecstasy" is performed with clarity, attention to detail, and an air of mystery. Boulez's French background give this piece an overall sound and feeling that recalls his recording of "Daphnis et Chloe," by Maurice Ravel. The trumpet plays with excellent tone and clarity. The strings seem to balance well with the rest of the orchestra. Perhaps there is too much of a feeling of Ravel and Debussy in this piece, but I find the interpretation very convincing. The final orchestral climax is most impressive, indeed!
Next, I found myself enjoying the collaboration of Anatol Ugorski and Boulez in the Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor and the "Poem of Fire." Ugorski plays with beauty, sensitivity, and crystalline clarity. He is an accomplished virtuoso pianist. Ugorski's playing shows the strong connection with Scriabin and his reverence for the piano music of Frederic Chopin. The orchestra gives a performance full of precision and the attention to detail that never escapes Boulez.
The "Poem of Fire" is even more mysterious and evocative to me than the "Poem of Ecstasy.Read more ›
The fabulous Chicago Symphony sounds thrilling, with the gleaming brass dominating but not overpowering the dense textures. I especially like this version of "Prometheus," which includes the choral part - here sung by the excellent Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Other versions may sound "more Russian" or be more passionate, but the approach here works on its own glittery, crystalline terms.