One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider
  • Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Sinfonie Concertanti
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
The Firebird (1910) [46.34]
Scherzo fantastique, Op.3 [12.03]
Fireworks, Op.4 [3.55]
Montreal Symphony Orchestra/Charles Dutoit
rec. Church of St Eustache, Montreal, October 1984
DECCA PRESTO CD 414409-2 [62.32]

During the early years of CD and digital recording, the work undertaken by Charles Dutoit and his Montreal forces served to give an indication of the real advantages of the medium. This was at a time when some digital recordings produced a harsh edge which served to create the idea that the medium lacked the warmth of LP and analogue. Their Ravel cycle was (and still is) one of the marvels of the catalogue, and their reading of Holst’s suite The Planets remains even today one of the best recordings ever put onto disc. Others of their recordings received a more mixed reception, and it is interesting that this reissue of their reading of three early Stravinsky scores has been left to Presto Classics to produce as one of their valuable series of re-issues.

Actually, it is more than interesting; because Dutoit and his Montreal players are ideal advocates of these almost impressionist scores from the very beginning of Stravinsky’s career. The pinpoint accuracy of the playing, and the analytical nature of the recording, misses nothing of the composer’s carefully judged ear for scoring, and at the same time the balances are naturally rendered in a way that still today continues to elude some recording engineers. Indeed, one might even say that the perception of the work is too accurate; the Infernal Dance, for example, has sounded even more ferocious in other hands. But that is to look a gift horse in the mouth. I can think of no other recording which captures the fey essence of the many magical moments in the score than this.

The two makeweights are the two earliest of Stravinsky’s orchestral scores to survive, and it is probably fair to comment that unless they had been by this particular composer they would not make more than a very occasional appearance in concert halls or record catalogues. But they are pleasant works nonetheless, and Dutoit does the best by them that can be imagined even when Fireworks lacks the fire that the subject really demands. It says something for Diaghilev’s ear for potential that on the basis of a hearing of Fireworks he selected the relatively unknown composer to produce the massive score for The Firebird when the dilatory Liadov failed to deliver.

Presto, as always, have commendably reproduced all the original booklet material from the full-price CD release. And while the original CD of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé from the same source provided no individual tracks for specific sections, here The Firebird is plentifully supplied with fourteen separate cues. I purchased this recording on its first appearance thirty years ago, and it has provided me with much enjoyment ever since. Indeed in 1999 the Penguin Guide identified it as “a clear first choice”, although it was superseded in later editions presumably because it had ceased to be listed in the catalogues. Its renewed availability is to be welcomed, even when many newer digital recordings have since arrived to compete with it.

Paul Corfield Godfrey



 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger