Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella; Scherzo fantastique

Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella; Scherzo fantastique

by Susan Graham
     
 

Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra recorded Igor Stravinsky's neo-classical ballet "Pulcinella" in 1990, so the first thing listeners will encounter with this 2012 Naxos reissue is the general flatness and unevenness of the early digital sound, which lacks a sense of dimensionsSee more details below

Overview

Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra recorded Igor Stravinsky's neo-classical ballet "Pulcinella" in 1990, so the first thing listeners will encounter with this 2012 Naxos reissue is the general flatness and unevenness of the early digital sound, which lacks a sense of dimensions, and in some tracks, the absence of natural resonance. In retrospect, this was adequate CD quality for the time, as it was produced by Delos for the original release, but since then, advances in audiophile recording have made the reproduction unsatisfactory. Even if the lackluster sound weren't an issue, the playing is sluggish at the outset and the ballet as a whole seems unnecessarily cautious in tempo and pacing. However, while Schwarz's tempos are sometimes slower than most conductors take, once the piece progresses, listeners can settle into the music and get an idea of what he is trying to do. This rendition of "Pulcinella" comes off as a bit too gentle and languorous for a rollicking "Commedia dell'arte" piece, and there is only a little of the brusqueness and mock violence that would be vital in an actual staging. It's possible that the prettiness of the score tempted Schwarz and his musicians to linger too long over passages, and this might account for the lovely but lazy character of the performance. The "Scherzo fantastique," recorded in 1988, is a lot more vigorous and animated, and the sound is better in its details and brighter ambience.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/18/2012
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313122479
catalogNumber:
8571224
Rank:
156128

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Scherzo fantastique, for orchestra, Op. 3  - Igor Stravinsky  - Amelia S. Haygood  - Gerard Schwarz  -  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
  2. Pulcinella, ballet with song in 1 act, for 3 vocal soloists & orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Susan Graham  - Amelia S. Haygood  - Jan Opalach  - Gerard Schwarz  -  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  - Gran Wilson

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