Steve Kersten | Coral Springs, FL United States | 11/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a release of works from the mid 60's (the Falla pieces) and the late 50's (Stravinsky's "Firebird"). The remastering was excellently done on the Falla pieces, but the "Firebird" is showing its age (an occasional tape pop, but then I listen with headphones, so it is noticeable). I used to stay away from DG CD releases whenever possible, because I found them to have a "harsh" sound (unlike their LP releases, which I would always buy when available), but they seemed to have gotten their act together. All three pieces were digital processed to remove the analog tape hiss (well done, I might add) and to add additional stereo separation (also well done) to yield a very enjoyable album. I bought this for the Falla pieces to replace an LP I bought in 1974 (the same recording) and I am very happy with the results. Buy this one if you are looking for a good Falla "El Amor Brujo (The Love Spell)" or a good non-vocal "Hat". Skip this one if you are looking for a "Firebird".Curiously, even though the "Firebird" has top billing, it really is relegated to a tertiary position on the album."
A stunning disk
Josef Krebs | Seattle | 03/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Clearly this version of the firebird suite deserves all the praise it has recieved over the years. A crisp performance, up to tempo, rehearsed to perfection by a tremendous orchestra. The de Falla peices are well played too, Grace Bumbry is superb in El amor brujo. These recordings forshadowed the illustrious career that Maazel was embarking on, and they're a chance to hear a young, infectously vibrant interpritation - the sort of performance that made him famous."
Get This For Falla, Not Firebird
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 07/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This release in the DG Originals series combines the music from three ballets, two of Falla's and Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite." Quite frankly, there isn't much similar about the music other than the conductor/orchestra in these particular performances (Maazel/Berlin RSO), and the fact that one of the Falla's ballets and "Firebird" were both written in 1919. Despite this the music is all wonderful. Jazz fans will recognize one of the excerpts from "El Amor Brujo" as "Will O' The Wisp," borrowed for the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration "Sketches of Spain." Of course, Miles' version comes without the vocal talents of the lovely mezzosoprano Grace Bumbry. Since I was mostly familiar to this point with Falla transcripitons for guitar, these orchestral works are quite inspiring. The "Firebird" was recorded by conductor Maazel when he was only 27, and it apparently catapulted him to stardom. However, for my money I find Leonard Bernstein's and Ernset Ansermet's Firebirds to be more compelling. Bernstein in particular slows the tempo down to draw out certain parts of the finale, while Maazel keeps the pace up and embellisehes things with some bells (literally) and whistles that are unnecessary. If you are looking for this CD to be your definitive "Firebird Suite" recording, you've come to the wrong place in my opinion. If you want some terrific Falla recordings with "Firebird" thrown in as a bonus, get this while you can."
Maazel can be steely, but these are exciting early recording
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with earlier reviewrs who found the young Maazel in top form -- almost all of his best recordings predate middle age and later, when his condcuting turned mannered and even perverse. But Maazel was ever the technician -- here he takes a not-so-great German radio orchestra and drills them to the nth degree of precision. Maybe too much so for de Falla, who needs earthiness and Spanish passion. This account of El Amor Brujo and the Three-Cornered Hat excerpts feels steely to me. There's a lot more to be gained from Argenta, Ansermet, Stokowski, and Giulini in tis msic. But the clarity of DG's sound is exciting, even with some ear-stringing highs in the trumpets and violins.
I don't get why anyone would denigrate Maazel's Firebird Suite, which is full of life and jsut as well played as the de Falla. Stravinsky can afford to be a little chilly, even in his most luscious score. Compared to top-notch orchestras, the Berlin woodwind soloists sound thin, but everything is done in the right spirit. I'm not bothered by the small amount of tape hiss lingering from the original analog sound, which is clear and natural. Kashchei's Infernal Dance is allowed to run free (the later Maazel would have jerked on the reins), and the Lullaby is hypnotically atmospheric. What more is needed?"