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Decca Phase 4
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
The Rite of Spring (1913) [34:21]
Symphony in Three Movements (1943) [22:31]
rec. February 2006 (Rite), January 2005
(Symphony), Joseph Keilberth-Saal,
TUDOR 7145 [56:52]
British conductor Jonathan Nott has created something of a
stir since his appointment as principal conductor of the Bamberg
Symphony Orchestra. This splendid ensemble has a similar position
in many respects to that of the Hallé, Royal Liverpool and
Bournemouth Symphony orchestras, since it is an international-calibre
orchestra based in a regional location rather than a capital
the quality of the playing on this Stravinsky disc means that
Bamberg need make no apology as to the orchestra’s credentials.
The results really are first rate, with accurate and disciplined
ensemble playing combining with distinguished solo contributions.
Lovers of orchestral music need ask for nothing more.
demands these high standards in order for his music to achieve
maximum thrust and articulation. Once both these performances
begin, phrasing and tempi seem completely convincing, as any
good performance should.
may seem an unexpected observation, but the most impressive
moments of this Rite of Spring are the most sensitive
and introspective, in particular the opening of Part Two, which
is wonderfully atmospheric. This may have something to do with
the recorded sound, which is pleasing enough but in a generalised
kind of way. The tuttis lack depth of perspective, with the
result that gradings of dynamic in the upper range might have
made more impact. Compare this with, for example, another recent
recording, on DG with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles
Philharmonic (00289 6198), and it is the latter who make the stronger impression as
far as sheer physical power is concerned.
has the measure of the score, however, and the tempi always
feel appropriate for the music. The same can be said about
the companion piece on the CD, the Symphony in Three Movements.
For the prospective collector couplings can be an important
issue, and whereas Salonen offers Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and
Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain, an all-Stravinsky
programme may appeal more and is the norm in the catalogue.
in Three Movements is notoriously tricky to bring off,
in terms of rhythmic articulation and precision. Nott and
his Bamberg Orchestra emerge from the challenge with great
credit, and their corporate achievement is not in doubt.
If they don’t quite create the electricity of Simon Rattle
in his CBSO performance for EMI (CDC7490532), it is down
to the same issue of recorded sound. Again it is good but
lacks in depth and power of resonance.
see also review by Leslie Wright
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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