ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
IGOR STRAVINSKY - THE RITE OF SPRING - FIREBIRD


IGOR STRAVINSKY - THE RITE OF SPRING - FIREBIRD - PERSÉPHONE - SYMPHONIES OF WIND INSTRUMENTS - KENT NAGANO (Conductor) - LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - VIRGIN 82106

It's hard enough finding a good recording of either the Firebird or the Rite, but Virgin Records have done us a great favor by combining both of these into one double cd set, along with other works by Stravinsky. And not only are these great works available together now, but these recordings under Kent Nagano are quite simply amazing.

The Firebird has never sounded better...atmospheric, crisp and detailed textures, a full range of orchestral colours in a very wide dynamic range...but it's in the Rite of Spring that Nagano really delivers the goods. Now I understand why this piece of music caused such a stir during it's premiere performance in France almost 100 years ago.

Nagano really brings out the "Rite" nature of the work, with driving savage rhythms, pounding percussive sonic outbursts delivered with both barrels, massive swells of orchestral sound, an astounding dynamic range, and all of this interpreted with perfect ballet form. The musicians are all in top shape in this one, but an extra tip of the hat to the percussionists for the pinpoint precision and gusto delivered from start to finish.

These pieces marked a definite change of direction in the history of music and influenced the music composed ever since. Even if you have other recordings of these masterworks by Stravinsky, add this one to your collection. It will re-ignite the fire!

Jean-Yves Duperron