Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Stravinsky, Craft, St. Lukes Orchestra|
Terrific collection - HOW CAN THIS BE OUT OF PRINT!!!!
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stravinsky is one of my favorite composers and this set has several of my favorite compositions by him. The "Symphony in Three Movements" is a popular and frequently performed work. Stravinsky said that this work was his reaction to the Second World War. It is powerful and intense. The two fanfares are very short works and it is wonderful to have them recorded.
As I have stated in other places, Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" is one of my favorite works and I still feel it is terribly under rated. It should be performed more frequently and is wonderful to listen to. Let me also say that Robert Craft has my undying gratitude for everything he did to help Stravinsky when the composer was living and everything he continues to do to promote the composer and help the world better understand his works. Let me also say that this is a pretty good performance of the work and has much to recommend it. However, there are three minor quibbles I have with this recording. The first pains me no end, because I love Paul Newman, but he is the wrong voice to narrate this opera oratorio that is supposed to have a monumental aspect to it. For me, Ralph Richardson's version of the narrator on the Colin Davis recording from the 1960s was darn near perfect. The second quibble has to do with the translation of the speaker's words into English. While some of the improvements are good, the overall effect is too conversational rather than the kind of formality that was intended, even if it was meant to be much more contemporary than the Latin used in the singing. The third quibble is the timbre of the tenor singing Oedipus. He is a fine lyric singer and does a great job. It is just that he does not have the proper monumentality and arrogance that Oedipus needs. But these are not fatal flaws and the work is quite wonderful and the performance worth listening too.
The "Apollo" Pas de Deux is lush and gorgeous and should refute the argument that anyone might have that the Stravinsky is too harsh.
Another of my favorite works of all time is the "Requiem Canticles". Who would believe that a man in his 85th year could still create a work so revolutionary with such wonderful new sonorities? I still find it stunning.
The "Symphony of Psalms" is a very great work that I feel grateful that I have had the opportunity to sing. This recording is very fine and you will enjoy it a great deal. If you take the time to meditate on the Psalms Stravinsky has set the work is even more beautiful.
Then there is the monumentally significant "Rite of Spring". Craft has provided a brilliant and stunning recording that I treasure. This work changed the world in the way Beethoven's ninth symphony did almost a century earlier. Afterwards, every composer had to deal with it in some way, even Stravinsky! I have heard this work live and it is even more impressive than on any recording, but how often do you get to hear it in a concert hall?
There is a wonderful booklet that has the libretto for "Oedipus" and some background material on all the works in this terrific two disk collection.