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Stravinsky: Les Noces
Russian Traditional, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Pokrovsky
Stravinsky: Les Noces
Genres: World Music, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


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An unequalled interpretation of Stravinski's Les Noces
R S MILLER | New York NY | 11/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No vocal recording of any type exceeds the impact this recording had on me. I realize that is quite a subjective statement, so let me explain.My first hearing of this recording was in May 1998 when it was used as the music for the premiere production by the New York City Ballet of Stravinsky's Les Noces, in lieu of the more conventional score. Rarely does the New York City Ballet dance to recorded music. I cannot imagine a more effective interpretation of this ballet as it was performed to this recording. The dance was faithful to the concept of the folk origins of this music."
R S MILLER | 07/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I sang Stravinsky's "Les Noces" myself some years ago, and I didn't have a clue what it was all about (even though we sang in French, which I understand). If only I had listened to this CD! This performance puts the music in the context of Russian folksongs (which Stravinsky used extensively, although he refused to admit it), and the singers sing the music in a full-throated, "folky" way miles removed from the classical style usually found in performances of this work. The mix is more like a pop song than a classical record, making the voices even more immediate and intense. Only two complaints: the dynamic range of the recording is small, and there is no Russian text in the notes, so it's hard to follow while you listen."
Stravinsky might have had some problems with this
Personne | Rocky Mountain West | 11/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This music comes from an early period is Stravinsky's long career. He had escaped the early tone-poem style of his teachers, and was working productively in the sound-world that included "Rite of Spring", "Nightingale" and other well-known pieces. "Les Noces" was something of a problem child. He tried and abandoned a player piano version. He orchestrated one tableau with a very large group. But the version we know best is the four-piano version here. It is Stravinsky's take on a Russian peasant wedding. It's important to note that although folk music was a source for Stravinsky, he seldom made use of it in a raw form. He was a man of greater refinement and he always fiddled with the material.

The Pokrovsky version imagines the piece with the sound of Russian folk singers. The style is interesting, with open throats and a considerable volume level. Stravinsky may well have been horrified--he never staged a piece in this manner, preferring more trained voices. Still, setting aside the composer's unspoken reservations, it's an interesting way to hear a familiar piece.

I'm less enamored of the accompaniment. Instead of using four live pianists, four digitally-controlled pianos are employed. While this undoubtedly makes the piece easier to tour, the dynamic range is compressed and there is no interaction between players and singers. It's metronomic and eventually becomes fatiguing.

I wouldn't discourage anyone from listening to this. Anyone with a love for Stravinsky will have an interest in such an unusual performance. But "Les Noces" is a fine piece, and this shouldn't be the first--or only--way to hear it."