4 Stars for LE SACRE, 5 stars for JEU de CARTES
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 09/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alexander Rahbari's Naxos recording of Stravinsky's famous 1913 ballet, LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS (THE RITE OF SPRING) suffers heavy and fierce competition from many other releases, including Ozawa/Chicago (RCA), Colin Davis/Concertgebouw (Philips), Haitink/London Philharmonic (Philips), Dorati/Detroit (Decca), Abbado/London Symphony (DG), and Ancerl/Czech Philharmonic (Supraphon), but should not be dismissed off hand as a futile effort. Rahbari has a feel for Stravinsky's rhythm and the architecture of the ballet as a whole, but the Belgian Radio/TV Orchestra is just not on a par with London, Chicago, the Concertgebouw, or Czech Philharmonic. Digital recorded sound is quite good, as Naxos usually is. There are places where playing is not quite top drawer, ensemble a little slack, but on the whole the level of playing is quite high; this just misses the extra something that cannot be described in words to make a first rate RITE.
The discmate, JEU DE CARTES, is excellent, given a recommendation in AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE's STRAVINSKY OVERVIEW in 2001. Considering the price is so low, at under $5.00, this would be worth the modest outlay for JEU DE CARTES, but have another, better recording of the RITE (one of those mentioned above) as an alternate."