Stephen T. from ASHLAND, OR Reviewed on 12/23/2009...
A wonderful recording of this music. Highly recommended.
A crisp and lucid recording of a masterpiece
Eric Brinkmann | Palo Alto, CA United States | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is not an abundance of modern recordings of this unique work, so I was glad to find one that was as good as this. I came to this piece after falling in love with Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and I found many of the same things that I loved there in this slightly earlier piece. While I'm not too crazy about Oedipus himself, Anne Sofie van Otter makes a great Jocasta, projecting a very cool image to hide a genuine fear. The demonic mood of "oracula mentitur" is captured especially well. I love the desperation underlying the agressive music."
Still the Most Definitive 'Oedipus Rex' On Record
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Esa-Pekka Salonen is more attuned to the complexities of this brittle and vibrant Stravinsky oratorio than any other conductor, and despite the fact that this recording dates back to 1992 is still retains the magic he brings to this work. Having heard subsequent performances live of Salonen's way with Oedipus, hearing him grow even more secure with the masses to control, this recording has all of the essentials to make it the choice performance.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra may not have the valuable sonic sheen Salonen elicits from the LA Philharmonic, but the playing is responsive and crisp. The cast is superb with Vinson Cole ringingly true as Oedipus and Anne Sofie von Otter as a powerful Jocasta. Patrice Chereau is superb as the Narrator and the cast is rounded out with such luminaries in the opera field as Simon Estes, Nicholai Gedda and Hans Hotter. The choral singing is precise though still in that Swedish manner of straight tone which actually fits this music well.
One can only hope that Salonen will record this work again to demonstrate his current full grasp of a magnificent and too rarely heard Stravinsky masterwork. Grady Harp, September 05"
It's getting a little chilly in here.
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've owned a dozen or more versions of Oedipus Rex over the years, and this one still remains on my shelf. I like Salonen's Stravinsky in general. It follows th composer's preference for chilly, precise, detached articulaiton without sentiment. But in this cast the Oedipus, Vinson Cole, sounds overparted, as does the excellent mezzo, Anne Sofie von Otter. Vocally, the parts of Oedipus and Jocasta are as weighty and florid as anything in early Verdi, and here we have lighter voices trying to carry the dramatic thrust but sounding like fairly polite oratorio singers. I imagine that's deliberate, and the result overall is very musical But for me there has to be more fire in the mix, at least as much opera as oratorio."
Important Stravinsky Work, but not his greatest
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Oedipus Rex' by Igor Stravinsky is a short opera with libretto in French which Stravinsky wrote in the mid-1920s, well after he had completed his most important works, the three ballets he did for the Ballet Rousse, especially 'The Rites of Spring'.
This interpretation by Esa-Pekka Salonen is quite good, and it should be especially pleasing to any Stravinsky fans, as the other reviews make clear. It is not, however, an important work if you happen to be checking it out primarily for the performance by Anne Sofie von Otter. Her role as Jocasta, Oedipus' mother, is relatively small, in this short work.
Oddly, I found the work less interesting than the recording of his collected folk songs recorded under the name 'Les Noces' (The Wedding), as this latter performance was more purely a realization of Stravinsky's writing for chorus.
But, if you like Stravinsky, you will not want to miss this work. If you are not fond of Stravinsky, look elsewhere."