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Firebird / Rite of Spring / Petrouchka / Scherzo
Stravinsky, Inbal, Philharmonia Orchestra
Firebird / Rite of Spring / Petrouchka / Scherzo
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #2


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CD Reviews

Outstanding "Rite", Good Firebird, Disappointing Petrushka
Michael A Pahre | Cambridge, MA | 03/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Philharmonia Orchestra has long been considered the British orchestra second in quality to the London Symphony Orchestra, and, more recently, third behind Rattle's City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Philharmonia Orchestra's glory days were the 1960s, particularly the recordings made under the direction of Giulini. Under the baton of conductor Eliahu Inbal, this disk of Stravinsky marks their return to the world stage as a top-notch ensemble: exciting brass, tight ensemble playing, and strong individual woodwind performances. The recording of the Rite of Spring stands out as powerful as I have heard it anywhere. The raw bestiality of Stravinsky's score comes through with a vengeance--it is easy to see why this work evoked such outrage upon its premiere. Inbal provides strong direction and lets the colorful orchestration shine. The performance is so overwhelming you will want to play it to the limit your speakers (and neighbors) can tolerate.The recording of the 1911 score of Petrushka, however, is a bit more disappointing. While there are many excellent individual performances among the musicians in the orchestra, it appears as though the work is under rehearsed. Petrushka requires the musicians to alternately sound like a full orchestra or a small chamber ensemble; the latter passages often lack rhythmic cohesion amongst the soloists. It is also a playful piece, but that character seems to have been somewhat missed in this performance.The Firebird is heard here in its complete version. Fans of the suite extracted from this ballet will discover (not unexpectedly) that the suite encompasses the best passages of the entire work, and that the additional music makes the complete version into a rather clumsy composition. Nonetheless, the Philharmonia Orchestra performs valiantly: the Infernal Dance is energetic and exciting, the Lullaby beautiful, and the Finale grandiose (albeit the ensemble occasionally loses its cohesion here also).Despite some drawbacks in the Petrushka, this 2-CD set is a good buy (it also includes the shorter Fireworks and Scherzo Fantastique) and has excellent sound quality."
Powerful Rendition
S. C Sochet | syosset, NY United States | 03/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Firebird is done with just the right amount of emotion on this recording. Oftentimes orchestras go "over the top" making this piece seem almost trivial. The performance here demonstrates great restraint as well as the power that embodies one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. Stravinsky was more than a genius, he was revolutionary. The Rite of Spring was a shocker to the world, but the Firebird was the beautiful companion."