I have known "Oedipus Rex" for many years through Stravinsky's own Columbia recording and never liked it one bit. This 1992 Esa-pekka Salonen version is comprehensively superior to the composer's. While it has flaws - which I will describe below - it converted me from a reluctant listener of "Oedipus" to a convinced fan. Any performance that does that with a listener is a successful one and deserves praise.
Salonen is an accomplished conductor of 20th-century music. For example, I heard him lead a superb Bartok performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a few months ago. The pacing, control and attention to Stravinsky's stylistic traits he shows here makes this an idiomatic and consistently interesting rendition. The orchestral balance between strings and winds is handled just right, I think, and the choral passages display perfect ensemble and an apt sense of the rhythmic patterns Stravinsky devises. Two of the soloists are outstanding. Anne-Sophie Mutter, who I find produces uneven recordings, is perfect as Jocasta. The US bass-baritone Simon Estes is also terrific, singing with a beautiful tone and musicality. (For another example of this vocalist's superb work, see the Colin Davis-led Faure Requiem, where Estes delivers in a memorable way.)
So far so good. The recording has two notable flaws, which is why it is rated 4-stars. Vinson Cole is pretty deplorable in the role of Oedipus. Cole sings unmusically and uncomfortably, with some pitch wavering. I do take into account that Stravinsky wrote demanding tenor parts, but Cole's fumbling lies beyond struggles with a difficult part. Secondly, the Sony engineers deliver thin, unattractive sound, in line with other Salonen discs from this time period. The sonics though are largely free of digital haze. Finally, it doesn't help that there is no track listing of any sort on the CD - forget liner notes, no track listing period.
In sum, a mostly very good disc that I have enjoyed and will keep listening to in the future.