on January 28, 2004
If you're considering purchasing this CD, DO NOT HESITATE. The performances here are astounding and the intensity unbeatable. One gets a sense that this is how Stravinsky heard the music in his head - a great acheivement for any performance. I haven't had the opportunity to listen to many versions of these works, but as a representative example, I also own a recording of Petrushka conducted by Eugene Ormandy. This recording completely obsoletes the Ormandy version! Yes, these are old recordings, but the sound should be good enough for any sane person - you'll find plenty of modern digital recordings that don't sound half so good. If you have any interest in Stravinsky whatsoever (and even if you think you don't), BUY IT! Even if the price weren't such a bargain, it would be a purchase you wouldn't regret. Also check out the other Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky CD (ASIN B0000026GK). Get them both while you still can!
on July 30, 2010
To begin with, I'll be frank: I haven't listened much to the version of "Petroushka" included on this CD - because I've been engrossed with the *real* jewel for fans of Stravinsky! Included on this CD along with "Petroushka" is the 1960 stereo recording of "Le Sacre du Printemps" ("The Rite of Spring") with the composer himself conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Many would say - and I'd agree, for the most part - that the 1940 mono recording of "Le Sacre du Printemps" (with Stravinsky conducting the New York Philharmonic) is essentially the "defintive version" of the piece, personally, the sonic clarity and overall excellence of the performance on the 1960 stereo recording makes it my personal favourite. I strongly recommend this CD to any fan of "Le Sacre," or of Stravinsky, or for people looking to investigate what I believe is his best work.
(And, for the rather low price of $9.99 [as of now] can it be beat?)
on March 28, 2004
I had the great good fortune to attend a concert of Stravinsky's music partially conducted by Stravinsky himself in Beverly Hills, CA. I don't remember the exact year, but it would have been in the late '60s. In other words, just a few years before his passing.
He shared conducting duties with his long-time associate, Robert Craft.
Because of his obvious age and frailty, it was expected he would sort of ceremoniously conduct one or perhaps two of his shorter works, leaving the bulk of the concert to Craft. Imagine my, and the audience's astonishment when we saw in the program that Maestro Stravinsky would be the conductor for several works, culminating in the concluding work on the program, "Le Sacre du printemps".
When the time came for "Le Sacre", the maestro, assisted and with some difficulty, made his way to the podium, at which he, not surprisingly, sat. He gazed at the score for a long moment. Slowly, his gaze rose from the score to his orchestra, which he observed for a few seconds, which seemed like hours. The audience grew silent with expectation. Slowly, deliberately, he raised his baton. And it began. What followed for the next 30 plus minutes was one of the most electrifying, galvanizing, and thrilling performances of anything I have ever seen or heard in my life, before or since.
After the concert I made it a point to chat with several friends of mine who were in the orchetra. I suggested that the orchestra must have been well prepared by Robert Craft so that Maestro Stravinsky would be better able to conserve his energy. To a man (and woman) they assured me that absolutely the opposite was the case. The portions of the concert, including "Le Sacre" that Stravinsky was to conduct were rehearsed, in total, by Stravinsky himself. In addition, Stravinsky attended the rehearsals for the balance of the program and had no problem contributing whatever he felt was necessary to the procedings. They also found him to be extremely alert and utterly charming.
How can I recommend anyone else's performance of "Le Sacre du printemps"? There is only one, and this is it.
on February 29, 2004
I would like to inform "Mr. Robert Lewis" that when writing a review for a classical album you must critique the performance on just that: the performance, not the music itself; the interpretation of the music.
I loved this CD. The music is so alive, breath-taking, and the power is remarkable. The sound quality is not something that I would give five stars, but simply the effortless performance is worthy of my reccomendation.
on October 7, 2003
I mean, come on, how on earth are we supposed to get a good classical music nap with all this ruckus? And what's with the cover? How deaf is that old man that he can't hear all that noise going on? Crash, Boom Boom, Whap, Sproing, Wonk. For pity's sake. Give us a few bars we can snooze through, please? That opening bassoon in the super high register is a nice start, almost a tease, but after that, you're on your own. No rest here.