Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Igor Stravinsky, Cleveland Orchestra & Chorus, Pierre Boulez|
Boulez conducts Stravinsky Le Chant du Rossignol/L'Histoire du Soldat
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The Finest Single Recording of these Disparate Stravinsky Wo
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pierre Boulez recorded this CD with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2001 and it remains unchallenged as the most definitive of these four unique and decidedly different works from Stravinsky's output. Boulez has formed a new approach to Stravinsky, one that emphasizes immaculate clarity while finding the emotional depth and satiric edge other conductors fail to realize.
Opening with 'Scherzo fantastique' sets a fine pace for the concert: the orchestra shimmers under Boulez' baton, bringing more substance to the work than is usually the case. 'King of the Stars (Zvezdoliki), cantata for male chorus & orchestra' finds the sonorous post-romantic glow that Stravinsky knew well before he set about to alter musical history. 'Chant du rossignol (The Song of the Nightingale), symphonic poem' is gratefully finding more performances these days (one of great stature was the recent performance by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic - very much in a like idiom as this Boulez reading) and the reasons are clear: when the symphonic condensation for the opera is played with the drama in mind the results are thrilling as a sonic spectacular.
'L'histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale), concert suite for 7 instruments' completes this CD in a performance as lively and acerbic as any on record. The members of the Cleveland Orchestra play like a well-formed chamber ensemble and Boulez knows just how to pace this little drama. In all this is Stravinsky as good as it gets. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
Boulez conducts Stravinsky
Grady Harp | 10/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An amazing CD that consists of 4 great pieces of Stravinsky's music. L'Histoire du Soldat Suite (The Solder's Tale) is my favourite from the album. The sound is clear, lush and full and the Cleveland Orchestra is one of the best in the world. Additionally, Pierre Boulez is a highly accurate conductor especially when it comes to new music and the great innovative composers of the 20th century like Stravinsky, Webern, Bartok and Varese. These composers are his specialities. This lethal combination equals a album nothing short of excellent. A must have for any Igor Stravinsky fan."
Highly Sensitive Performances
B. R. Merrick | 08/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Boulez is comfortable to stay in softer dynamics for much of this CD, especially in "The King of the Stars" and the Scherzo fantastique. On the latter, it works. The Scherzo shines as it is handled delicately here. The tempos are just right for the listener to hear the details and subtleties. With "The King of the Stars," however, there is virtually no contrast, certainly not the sort that is provided by Michael Tilson Thomas with the BSO (also on Deutsche Grammaphon). Boulez never even bothers to reach forte.
On the other hand, "The Song of the Nightingale" is played with a lot of dynamic contrast and vigor. Boulez's metronomic approach works well in many places, most certainly in "Game of The Mechanical Nightingale." Furthermore, the sensitive approach means that the woodwinds are given more prominence, which is a critical factor in this piece. He chooses to almost ignore the chromatic ascent and descent in the climax of "The Chinese March," so listener beware.
Where Boulez really takes off is "The Soldier's Tale." Scored for a chamber ensemble composed of violin, bass, trumpet, trombone, bassoon, clarinet, and one percussionist, the Concert Suite is great for those of us who despise the narration. I find it distracting, so I'm glad to be rid of it here. The violin and clarinet stand out on this recording, which is as it should be. I find no disagreement with the tempos, dynamics, or any of the expressiveness of this performance. It's a keeper."