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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Apollon Musagète; Symphonies of Wind Intruments / Rattle, Berlin PO

Album Summary

>Stravinsky, Igor : Le sacre du printemps
>Stravinsky, Igor : Symphonies of Wind Instruments
>Stravinsky, Igor : Apollon musagete, ballet in 2 scenes for string orchestra
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Rite of Spring, original French title, Le sacre du printemps, is a 1913 ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. After the premiere the writer Leon Vallas opined that Stravinsky had written music 30 years ahead of its time, suitable to be heard in 1940. Coincidentally, it was in that year that Walt Disney released Fantasia, an animated feature film based on music from The Rite. Over the years, Le Sacre du printemps has remained Stravinky's best known work due in large part to its musical uniqueness - the innovative, complex rhythmic structures, timbres and use of dissonance.

In a year which sees the 100th anniversary of its milestone premiere, EMI Classics releases an exciting new recording of Stravinky's The Rite of Spring, with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Also on the disc are new recordings of Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Apollon Musagete, another of the Russian master's ballets (and one of this most serene).

Sir Simon Rattle says of Stravinsky's the Rite of Springs: "It's probably no accident the Stravinsky's Rite of Springs, which is really the seminal work of the twentieth century in so many ways, happened in 1913, just before the greatest conflagration that the world had ever known... Stravinsky talked of trying to recapture the violence, this sense of the Earth cracking open, that he witnessed ever spring in Russia... but on a deeper level, it's a musical metaphor, for the vessel of an exhausted era cracking open."

Sir Simon Rattle has been an exclusive EMI artist for more than 32 years, and has recorded over 250 works with the label. He has received three Grammy Awards, three Classical Brit and Gramophone Awards in the UK and two Echo Klassik Awards in Germany to date. Most recently, Sir Simon Rattle appeared at the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in London conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday Times, 31st March 2013
Stravinsky famously disliked Karajan's supersmooth 1960s account with this orchestra, but he surely would have responded more positively to Rattle, who never allows sheer beauty of sound to undermine the rhythmic pulsing...The Berliners' strings may be plusher than Birmingham's, and the woodwind soloists are instrumental royalty, but Rattle preserves the visceral barbarism of this ever-astonishing score.

The Guardian, 21st March 2013
The performances all have the sense of utter security, tonal depth and fabulous dynamic range that are characteristic of the Berlin Philharmonic in Rattle's era...The Berliners are so much on top of their parts that there is something almost too secure about the result...It's a superbly judged performance, with just the right balance between individuality in the wind playing and immaculate ensemble.

The Independent, 30th March 2013
It is the suavity of the score that startles, especially in Rattle's subtle use of rubato (stolen time) and the cool sensuality of the woodwind solos. Those woodwind players - currently vying with the principals of the Concertgebouw for the title of world's finest - shine again in Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments.

The Times, 5th April 2013
Beautiful, all beautiful. But beauty is not enough. We also need the primitive and rude: ingredients that Rattle and the suave Berliners tend to deliver wearing kid gloves...If you're after an interpretation in love with the score's quieter corners, go for Rattle with confidence; if you want Stravinsky red in tooth and claw, he's often hard to find.

Financial Times, 6th April 2013
You could be forgiven for thinking this was still Herbert von Karajan's orchestra, such is the depth of colour in The Rite of Spring and weight of string sonority in Apollon MusagFte.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2013
The physical impact here of maximum Berlin Philharmonic firepower is part of what the music itself calls for...Compared to the clotted cream sonorities in evidence here, Rattle's CBSO recording is far truer to the music's poised incisiveness and grace. But his new reading of The Rite of Spring with the Berlin Philharmonic is a formidable achievement.

The Arts Desk, 6th April 2013
It's indecently luxuriant and played with a confidence which almost borders on complacency...This recording is full of...sounds which will have you dusting down your miniature score in disbelief. Rarely has the second half's intro sounded so decadent and sweaty, and I whooped for joy at hearing a normally inaudible low horn rasp a few minutes near the close.

MusicWeb International, April 2013
This is a pretty considerable account of Le Sacre. I think there is, at times, a degree of greater urgency than was the case in 1987 - perhaps the presence of an audience helped; perhaps it's the fact that an even more experienced Rattle is now at the helm of a virtuoso orchestra...a refined and excellent performance of Apollon MusagFte which benefits not only from the virtuosity of the Berlin string players but also from the fastidious ear of their conductor.

The Telegraph, 19th April 2013
[Stravinsky] would surely have warmed to this new version. Rattle's sense of pacing and proportion is unerring, and the sound has a startling vividness that makes this familiar piece seem new. One hears thickets of ticking, twittering inner parts that normally stay in the background.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Philharmonie, Berlin.


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Works Details

>Stravinsky, Igor : Le sacre du printemps
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin (11/08/2012-11/10/2012)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1911-1913
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Stravinsky, Igor : Symphonies of Wind Instruments
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin (09/20/2007-09/22/2007)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Stravinsky, Igor : Apollon musagète, ballet in 2 scenes for string orchestra
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin (02/16/2011-02/18/2011)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1928
  • Studio/Live: Live