BY FAR THE BEST MONEY I EVER SPENT!
Phil Walton | Santa Barbara, CA United States | 06/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I will start by qualifying myself: I have a degree in Music Composition and I am a lover of 20th century music and late Romanticism. I have studied a great deal in Orchestration, Theory, Music History, and especially composition. I have given an informal leture on The Firebird, written a significant set of essays on Petrushka, and done a formal analysis of The Rite of Spring. Orpheaus, however, I am not very familiar with.Ok...I cannot begin to describe how wonderful this recording is! The first and most obvious of it's quality is the amazing job Phillips did in the remastering. There is absolutely no static, buzzing, or crackling that usually comes with recordings from the 60's and 70's. The CD sounds like it was done in 2003 in a professional fully digital studio!Secondly, the musicianship is unparalleled! Not a single note is wrong, not a single entrance is rusty, and every is played with the highest level of emotion and perfection.Thirdly, the balance of instrumentation and color of the orchestra blows any other recording out of the water!Stravinksy is my favorite composer of all time, but I defy anyone to say that he was the best conductor of his own music. Quite frankly, Sir Colin Davis on this particular recording cannot be matched!If you are looking for the PERFECT Stravinksy album, THIS IS THE ONE!"
One of the best collections - and 1/2 star for 'Orpheus'
George Grella | Brooklyn | 08/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine collection of major Stravinsky ballets, including the three late romantic masterpieces and the addition of the neo-classical and hard to find 'Orpheus.'As a first purchase for someone beginning an interest in Stravinsky, I would give this 5 stars. The major and most well-known works 'The Firebird,' 'Petrushka' [complete ballets for these two, not just the suites] and 'The Rite of Spring' are beautifully played by the RCO with excellent recording and remastering to match - a rich, full and detailed sound. Davis' conducting cannot be faulted in anyway - there are more savage accounts of 'The Rite' in Stravinsky's own and Muti's, but these are clear, forceful performances, full of atmosphere and precise rhythms, completely satisfying. I've heard these pieces dozens of times in performance and on record, and I really enjoy these recordings.'Orpheus' is a real treat. This is a beautiful, limpid score, and not often recorded. The finest recording is led by Stravinsky himself, but unless you want to shell out for the complete Recorded Legacy on Sony, it's very tough to find in the US. This version is refined but misses a little tension in a completely ideal performance, but the available comparisons in Salonen and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra also have their flaws. Still good to have this version, just knock off half a star because the performance is not totally ideal."
Three chestnuts and a little gem
Mick McAllister | 07/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Colin Davis recordings of Stravinsky are as good as any, better than most, and distinguished by a wonderful extra, the *Orpheus* suite. I'm the sort who can't have too many *Firebirds*, and I'm glad to add the Davis to my favorites, which include Bernard Haitink's landmark digital recording.I'm still looking for a *Rite of Spring* that feels like the perfect performance. This is close, as are the Bernstein New York Phil recording and a Boulez I can't put my finger on right now. Unfortunately the measure I hold them up to is a live performance by the Utah Symphony which taught me why live is not Memorex. *Petrushka* is wonderful and lively and I've seen performances of the ballet, but it leaves me cold as music. I'm always getting it mixed up with *Puchinella,* which I have also seen as a ballet performance. In any case, Davis makes it sound as good as it's gonna.I had never heard the *Orpheus*, and it turned out to be a delicate, understated, moody ballet. Interesting music, reminding me of *L'Histoire d'un Soldat*, *Apollo Musagetes* (sadly not here instead of *Petruska*), *The Rake's Progress*, and some of Stravinsky's symphonic works. I don't know enough about music to understand why this piece is neglected. It's a hard piece to find, though there are a couple of other recordings available.If you don't have the familiar three, this CD is a bargain--four brilliant performances. I bought it because it seemed the most economical way to get *Orpheus*--if you understand by "economical" an interest in value for dollar. No regrets."