Search - Igor Stravinsky, John Eliot Gardiner, Ian Bostridge :: Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Bostridge · York · Terfel · von Otter · Howells · LSO · Gardiner

Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Bostridge · York · Terfel · von Otter · Howells · LSO · Gardiner
Igor Stravinsky, John Eliot Gardiner, Ian Bostridge
Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Bostridge · York · Terfel · von Otter · Howells · LSO · Gardiner
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (34) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (29) - Disc #2

This release makes one wonder if there is any music John Eliot Gardiner can't conduct well. Here, for what is probably the first time on CD, Gardiner goes for Stravinsky, and while a nitpicker might point out that Rake is ...  more »

     
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Amazon.com essential recording
This release makes one wonder if there is any music John Eliot Gardiner can't conduct well. Here, for what is probably the first time on CD, Gardiner goes for Stravinsky, and while a nitpicker might point out that Rake is Stravinsky's "Mozartean" opera, let's face it--it's real Stravinsky. Gardiner manages the composer's angles and strange rhythms superbly, and he concentrates on the lower instruments as well (the engineers assist nicely throughout), leading a fleet, ironic performance of this tough work while underlining the score's sweetnesses as well. It doesn't hurt that he has the finest cast available: Bryn Terfel's Nick Shadow is amazingly nuanced, and only once or twice does the great bass-baritone do his infamous "whispering act." He's positively chilling in the graveyard scene. And what can one say about Ian Bostridge as the titular rake? When he says, "I wish I had money!" in Act I, he's Everyman; he wins us over and we feel for him no matter how stupid he is. He's a bit stressed at the very top of his range in the one or two forte passages, but considering how clever this artist is, it wouldn't be a surprise if he's doing it on purpose. Deborah York is such a fine Anne--singing with clean, white, innocent tone--that she even outdoes Dawn Upshaw's splendid portrayal. Anne Sofie von Otter sings Baba's music impeccably (and in unaccented English), but, as usual, she seems more distinguished and artistic than moving. This set is now at the top of the pack; if you've been wondering about this opera and were wondering when and where to get your feet wet, go no further. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

What a fun performance!
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 04/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recording receives an interesting criticism. One of the heresies of the early music / authentic performance practice crowd is that these guys take the score reading TOO LITERALLY. Now, with this recording Gardiner takes it on the chin because some of the notes are not exactly what Stravinsky wrote.Well, I know the score, too. And I am a Stravinsky nut. But I also love to be convinced musically and this performance is full of energy, life, and singing that seems to delight in the music and the music making. The orchestra plays like they are having FUN. One example is Tom's early aria when he sings "The world is so wide" The orchestra plays a descending run purely and cleanly yet we can hear the neighing of horses. Then Tom sings, " Come,wishes be horses; This beggar shall ride!" Great stuff!If you want to learn to love opera and are an english speaker you can really go a long way with this wonderful opera and this wonderful recording. Don't worry about those who take severe stances on this or that point. That is purity as a vice. The point is the music and the music has a lot to do with the notes, but not EVERYTHING to do with the notes. But, by the way, they hit nearly all of them and the times they make alternative choices they aren't making mistakes, they are making choices. And the funny thing is, we know Stravinsky wanted his music performed exactly the way he wrote it, but this piece is modelled on eighteenth century opera where they would expect to make choices and the music as "necessary". Well, what does that mean for this piece? But this is too arcane an argument.The fact is the music is a treasure and this performance is a delight."
Unevenly cast, but flawlessly executed
Ed Beveridge | London, England | 08/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Rake's Progress has always been an extremely difficult opera to record. Somehow the voices never seem to match one another - either they are "chamber" voices superb for the intimate moments but not up to the grand operatic phrases or vice versa. The same kinds of voice never seem to appear on the same recordings at the same time. And so it is here. Ian Bostridge, flavour of the month in the UK and beyond, brings admirable youthfulness and clarity to Tom, giving eloquent verbal point in recitative and aria. His voice sits well with Stravinsky's neoclassical lines, but is a size too small to fill them out really satisfyingly. Nowhere is this more apparent than when he sings with Bryn Terfel's Shadow, who dominates the recording with his glorious bass-baritone. Yet, whilst he can coo, yodel, bellow and whisper with the best of them, his performance does seem to lack subtlety; perhaps, with such a fabulous instrument and glorious diction, less would be more.As far as the women are concerned, Deborah York has a small but perfectly formed soprano, technically assured, and sounds convincingly young and naive as Ann. However, she too is taxed later in the opera and whilst her big scene - "No word from Tom" - goes well, in the second and third acts she seems at a loss to bring much by way of dynamic variation and character, and Anne subsequenbtly disappears into the background rather than being a real moral force. Perhaps the most successful individual performance is the unlikeliest on paper: Anne Sofie von Otter as Baba is just perfect, playing the character dead straight and making her - of course - much funnier by so doing.The supporting cast is terrific (Peter Bronder's Sellem deserves special mention), but the real glory of the set is the orchestral playing: John Eliot Gardiner brings all his classical expertise and more to a performance which is crisp, spirited and superbly paced. The London Voices provide a fine chorus, and the whole is very well recorded. Idiosyncracies of the casting aside, it is a set worth having."
Rises to the top of the heap
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I must confess that this is a revised review. I originally had a negative impression of this recording of The Rake's Progress because it seemed flimsy compared to the composer's own recording on Sony, with a wimpy, callow Rake (Ian Bostridge) and a technically under-equipped Anne (Deborah York). But I overlooked some absolute positives: Terfel's definitive Nick Shadow, which really has no competition on disc for charisma and imagination, Gardiner's ultra-clear conducting of detail, which again has no equal and is greatly aided by DG's completely transparent recording. In the end these virtues win out, and even though I like every ohter Anne on disc (Judith Rankin, Dawn Upshaw, and Sylvia McNair come to mind) better than York, she isn't enough of a reason to demote this performance. It's still rather cool and lightweight -- Gardiner keeps his eye on neoclassical precision at the cost of emotional depth -- but that's a perfeclty valid way to interpret Stravinsky's pastiche of 18th-century style."