Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Hans Graf|
Bartók: The Wooden Prince; Stravinsky: Le Baiser de la fée
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First rate classical disc
Christopher Henrici | Washington, DC United States | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc was something of a shot in the dark for me as I had never heard this orchestra or conductor before, and I had'nt heard the Bartok work, but it turned out to be a really good choice. As the other reviewer mentions, the works are given a strong performance, all the orchestral color and drama are brought out to a nice effect. I don't have any to compare with except a London Lp of Ansermet conducting the Stravinsky piece. There actually are'nt that many versions of it out there. The Firebird is more popular. If you like Stravinsky's Ballet pieces, this is one to try. Also of note is the engineering by Brad Sayles, this disc sounds excellent, it has the right perspective for my preference.....not so close that the hall ambience is lost, and not so far away that everything gets muddled, it's just right. A very enjoyable disc that most classical music aficianados should find hard to fault."
A Stravinsky/Bartok Pairing From Houston
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"German-born Hans Graf took over the job of music director of the Houston Symphony (a job held prior by Christoph Eschenbach, as well as, over the decades, folks like Beecham, Stokowski, Barbirolli, and Previn) just a few years ago, and out of his stewardship there at the home of America's manned spaceflight program comes this unusual pairing of two widely differing 20th century ballet works.
Stravinsky's "Divertimento" from his 1928 ballet THE FAIRY'S KISS is an homage of sorts to a composer he admired with tremendous fervor, namely Tchaikovsky. Indeed, this orchestral suite sounds less like the man who gave us THE FIREBIRD or THE RITE OF SPRING, and more like the legendary composer of NUTCRACKER; but at no point does it sound slavishly imitative of the great Tchaikovsky. Also on this recording is Bela Bartok's charming and modern adult fairly tale ballet THE WOODEN PRINCE, rent with the composer's ultra-colorful and innovative orchestration. Both works are superbly performed by the Houston Symphony under Graf's direction, continuing the work that Eschenbach had begun under his tenure, as well as continuing the tradition of their predecessors of combining modern works with the standard repertoire. Koch's sound engineering team is to be commended for capturing the feel of these works. A first-rate recommendation for any fan of great 20th century orchestral and/or ballet music."
B. R. Merrick | 10/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I avoid live recordings like the plague. I can't stand to listen to random noise from an audience that doesn't know the meaning of sitting still, and oh yeah, staying home if you have a cold! But every once in a while, an interpretation comes along that voids any disturbance I normally experience with live recordings. This version of "The Fairy's Kiss: Divertimento" is top-notch all the way. Yes, there is a little noise from the crowd, and perhaps one or two unexpected gaffes from the orchestra as well, but the playing and technical aspects of the recording are fantastic. I can't vouch for "The Wooden Prince," because I have a studio recording that I prefer, but the Stravinsky shines out with all the brilliant colors he composed. The brass cut through everything with precision and great humor, especially the French Horns when they usher in the fortissimo passages of the Danses suisses. The ends of these passages with the schizophrenic string playing (leading back to the polka-like low brass accompaniment) have to be heard to be truly appreciated. Rather than Reiner's final note bowing out from the forte to embrace a mezzo-like ending, Graf goes full out for a big finish. All the more fitting considering the attention to detail that went into every aspect of this excellent recording."