Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Igor Stravinsky, Mikhail Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra|
Symphony 1 / Firebird / Scherzo a La Russe
An all-Russian Stravinsky album
Robert E. Nylund | Ft. Wayne, Indiana United States | 10/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is an outstanding CD that features one of the most familiar of Igor Stravinsky's compositions in a less frequently performed version plus three works which are seldom performed or recorded. The unique thing about the recordings is that they are by a very fine Russian orchestra and conducted by a capable Russian conductor."The Firebird" is probably Stravinsky's best-known work. It was his first major triumph, when the original ballet was premiered in Paris in 1910. Typically, Stravinsky extracted a concert suite from the ballet in 1919 that was widely performed and recorded. However, in 1928, when Stravinsky decided to record music from "The Firebird," he prepared a special, rather extended suite. The 1928 version is closer, in some ways, to the 1945 published suite that Stravinsky prepared. Mikhail Pletnev chose to use the 1945 suite, which is very long and contains all of the major sections of the score; only the interludes are omitted. Interestingly, Stravinsky himself made a recording of this suite in what proved to be his very last recording session, in 1967. This Russian recording is an outstanding representation of the colorfully-orchestrated, delightful work. The musicians play with absolute brilliance and the listener has a particularly enjoyable time listening to the results.Stravinsky's "Symphony in E" is a very early work, dating from 1907, and pays considerable tribute to Tchaikovsky and Rimsky Korsakoff, with whom Stravinsky was then studying. Stravinsky had yet to display his individuality and Rimsky told others he wasn't all that impressed with the young composer. Of course, Rimsky had very high standards. It's hard to imagine why he wasn't more impressed with Stravinsky's symphony, which is a very colorful piece and full of youthful energy and excitement. It is a special treat to hear this work. Interestingly, Stravinsky himself made a recording of the symphony for Columbia, but I think this may be an ever better performance, given the fine playing by the Russian orchestra.There are also two short works, which are quite delightful. "Scherzo A La Russe" is a virtual tour-de-force and is quite representative of the composer's neo-classical period. The performance recorded here are quite lively and enjoyable. The very brief "Canon On A Russian Popular Tune" shows how Stravinsky could cram his considerable genius even in a short work; the performance is excellent and one truly wishes that were more to the music."