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Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps/L'Oiseau de feu/Jeu de cartes/Petrouchka/Pulcinella
Igor Stravinsky, Claudio Abbado, London Symphony Orchestra
Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps/L'Oiseau de feu/Jeu de cartes/Petrouchka/Pulcinella
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (34) - Disc #2

This is an excellent Stravinsky collection on all counts. Claudio Abbado's recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra represent the high-water mark of his career, and DG captured the partnership in generally fine soun...  more »

      
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This is an excellent Stravinsky collection on all counts. Claudio Abbado's recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra represent the high-water mark of his career, and DG captured the partnership in generally fine sound. This recording of the complete Pulcinella, with the songs included, set an entirely new standard for the work, and its excellence has worn very well in the couple of decades since its initial release. The performance of Jeu de Cartes (Card Game) also should win many new friends for this entertaining late work. As to the Big Three ballets, all of them were among the most recommendable versions when they first came out, and they still are. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Great Interpretations of Stravinsky From Abbado
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 03/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This magnificient two CD set contains some of Abbado's finest recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra. His great interpretations of Stravinsky's scores can easily hold their own against those from the likes of Bernstein, Boulez, Haitink, and more recent interpreters such as Gergiev. His "Le Scare du printemps" is one of the most dramatic recordings I've heard, replete with tense, vibrant playing from the London Symphony Orchestra. It is a visceral, emotionally raw account pulsating with energy. Equally noteworthy is his splendid interpretation of "L'Oiseau de feu", which is a brisk, dramatic performance. Both "Jeu de cartes" and the entire score of "Pulcinella" are very pleasant surprises too. My only slight criticism is Abbado's interpretation of "Petrouchka" which doesn't sound as dramatic as Haitink's with the London Philharmonic. The sound quality on these image bit digitally remastered CDs is absolutely stunning; it sounds as good as contemporary recordings."
Needless to say, it's excellent.
Gerardo Cabrera Munoz | México | 12/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"How we miss Abbado in the LSO, he had a great rapport with the orchestra and it shows in these sensational CD's from the 70's and early 80's. His understanding of Stravinsky and his wizard-like handling of colours and textures have not been equalled. On top of it, there is the goddess Teresa Berganza in Pulcinella. Go and buy this set!."
Abbado's Stravinsky from his LSO period is very fine
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Abbado thrived in London in the Seventies and early Eighties with the LSO, and their collaboration produced some of his most vigorous performances. These Stravinsky ballets are among them. (I can't agree with David Hurwitz that Abbado never got better--he reached an inspired apex in his last years with the Berlin Phil.) DG's bargain two-fer features dynamic, in-your-face sonics, especially in Le Sacre. Admittdly, there are passing moments when Abbado, as was his wont, turns a bit tame and cautious, but the overall impression is of a brash, propulsive Le Sacre. The Firebird Suite is the only item that's seriously underplayed.

Petrushka gets another vivid recording and lots of commitment from the LSo; it also finds Abbado at his most involved. But for me the main attraction isn't the most familiar works but Abbado's complete Pulcinella and the Balanchine-commissioned Jeu de Carte (Hurwitz mistakenly calls Jeu a late work. With Stravinsky, late means 1950-71, not 1937, when this ballet was premiered). Abbado's approach is classical and balanced, but there's a good deal of inner life, which Stravinsky's 'white' ballets (i.e., ballets without a story) desperately needs if it's to connect with a concert audience.

I especially like the Pulcinella, which is an oddly difficult work to bring off. Abbado plays it lightly, with refined textures and attacks that aren't as dry and sharp as we usually expect, articularly from the composer himself. Purists may find Abbado too mellifluous, but he's never rough and vulgar. He's lucky in his prestige vocalists (Berganza, Shirley-Quirk, and Davies), who struggle just a bit in songs that often defeat lessert singers.

All in all, there's stiff competition in these pieces, but Abbado gives ue the best omnium gatherum of all five.

"