Stravinsky 125th Anniversary Albumby Robert Craft
Made in 2007, the 125th anniversary of the birth of Igor Stravinsky, this recording of "The Rite of Spring" conducted by Robert Craft, the composer's amanuensis, is a fitting gesture to the composer and his long-standing relationship with Craft. The disc includes a January 2007 recording of the third and final 1967 edition of the work -- albeit the changes from the 1947 edition are for the most part details of scoring and articulation. And it is interesting and entertaining that the disc also contains "Zvezdolikiy," a very brief cantata for male chorus and orchestra from 1911, and "Symphonies of Wind Instruments," a very short "Tombeau de Debussy for winds and brass" from 1922. But Craft has recorded most of these works before, and while his "Rite" here is masterfully executed by the Philharmonia of London, it could be argued that Craft's earlier performances had more energy and cogency. However, the inclusion of Jennifer Frautschi's recording of the "Violin Concerto" makes this disc mandatory for Stravinsky fans. In this wonderfully lyrical work with its brisk opening Toccata and whimsical closing Capriccio enclosing two coolly expressive Arias, Frautschi uses her big tone, warm intonation, strong technique, and supple vibrato to make the most of every opportunity, and Craft and the Philharmonia support her with obvious enthusiasm and affection. So while one might reasonably prefer Craft's 1966 recording of "Symphonies of Wind Instruments" or his 1991 recording of "The Rite," Frautschi's "Concerto" transforms an interesting disc into a red-hot, must-hear disc. Although "Zvezdolikiy" was recorded with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the Gregg Smith Singers in Purchase, NY, in 1992, the symphonies with the Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, the "Violin Concerto" with the Philharmonia in Abbey Road Studio 1 in 2006, and the "Rite" with the Philharmonia in Abbey Road in 2007, the sound is consistently clear, colorful, vivid, and very present.
- Release Date:
- Violin Concerto in D major - Igor Stravinsky - Robert Craft - New Philharmonia Orchestra - Jennifer Frautschi
- King of the Stars (Zvezdoliki), cantata for male chorus & orchestra - Igor Stravinsky - Robert Craft - Gregg Smith Singers - Orchestra of St. Luke's
- Symphonies of Wind Instruments, for 24 wind instruments (1920 version) - Igor Stravinsky - Robert Craft - Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble
- Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), ballet in 2 parts for orchestra - Igor Stravinsky - Robert Craft - New Philharmonia Orchestra
Performance CreditsRobert Craft Primary Artist
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This CD contains four works by Stravinsky, including two of his best works, the Violin Concerto and the Rite of Spring. These two works receive the most compelling performances I have ever heard. The Rite is given a thrilling performance that does not revel in the savagery or attempt to be disturbing. Those looking for those qualities should check out the Gergiev performance. Robert Craft, the conductor here, goes for the excitement and brings out details rarely heard. The sound quality is demonstration quality hi-fi caliber. The Violin Concerto should appeal to ALL Stravinsky fans, regardless of preferences, since this performance by Jennifer Frautschi is the best you'll ever hear. She combines a beautiful, sweet tone with a big sound that captures all the spikiness in the score without sounding scratchy or unpleasant, as so many other violinists do in this work. Particularly noteworthy is Frautschi's beautiful performance of the two lyrical inner movements--they've never sounded better. Grab this disc for an exciting Rite and especially for the best-ever Violin Concerto!