Stravinsky: The Ballets

Stravinsky: The Ballets

by Robert Craft
     
 

Igor Stravinsky's contributions to the ballet genre almost single-handedly lifted it to the front ranks of musical forms in the twentieth century. From "The Firebird," "Petrushka," and "The Rite of Spring" through "Apollo," "Agon," and "Orpheus," Stravinsky's ballets are milestones in the history of musical modernism, and thus the question is not "should one hear… See more details below

Overview

Igor Stravinsky's contributions to the ballet genre almost single-handedly lifted it to the front ranks of musical forms in the twentieth century. From "The Firebird," "Petrushka," and "The Rite of Spring" through "Apollo," "Agon," and "Orpheus," Stravinsky's ballets are milestones in the history of musical modernism, and thus the question is not "should one hear recordings of the master's ballet?" but "whose recordings of the master's ballets should one hear?" One could go for the modern recordings by Boulez or the classic recordings by Ansermet. Or one could go for the arguably definitive recordings by Stravinsky himself who recorded most of his ballets several times, the final, most complete set of performances taped in splendid stereo sound for Columbia. Or one could go for the definitive recordings by Robert Craft, Stravinsky's amanuensis, editor and, in the master's final years, his most faithful interpreter. Craft recorded virtually all of Stravinsky's music in the '90s and early 2000s for the Koch and MusicMasters labels, and these are the recordings drawn on for the contents of this six-disc Naxos box set of the ballets. It should be said at the outset that these are uniformly superlative performances and that the digital sound is consistently direct and vivid. And it should further be said that Craft clearly knows these pieces like he knows his own mind, and every performance here rings true. But, those things acknowledged, it must also be said that these are not the warmest, most colorful, or most exciting performances of Stravinsky's ballets ever recorded. Craft's colors are mostly cool and clear without heat or tang, his tempos are mostly moderate and always controlled, and his affection for the music, while undoubted, tends to turn up in the oddest places. Instead of leaning into "The Firebird"'s jubilant climax, the "Scènes de Ballet"'s noble "Pas-de-deux," or "Apollo"'s radiant "Apotheosis," Craft finds expressivity in the Nightingale's icy sonorities, "Agon"'s rigorous rhythms, or the "Orpheus"' austere "Apotheosis." Even Stravinsky's famously chilly interpretations have more obvious warmth than Craft's. Craft's clear-eyed approach grows out Stravinsky's, and his performances are much like Stravinsky's in their lucidity and intensity, though with even more precisely articulated conducting.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/31/2009
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313600939
catalogNumber:
8506009
Rank:
291691

Tracks

  1. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts  - Igor Stravinsky  - Joseph Cornwell  - Robert Craft  - Martyn Hill  - Jennifer Lane  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra  - David Wilson-Johnson  - Andrew Greenan  - Edward Fox  -  Simon Joly Male Chorus  - Louis Welden Hawkins
  2. Les Noces III (The Wedding), ballet in 4 tableaux for vocal soloists, chorus, 4 pianos & percussion  - Igor Stravinsky  - Susan Bickley  - Robert Craft  - Alan Ewing  - Martyn Hill  - Alison Wells  -  Simon Joly Chorale  - Louis Welden Hawkins  -  International Piano Quartet  -  Tristan Fry Percussion Ensemble
  3. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), ballet in 2 scenes for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra
  4. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version)  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra
  5. Pulcinella, ballet with song in 1 act, for 3 vocal soloists & orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Mark Beesley  - Robert Craft  - Robin Leggate  - Diana Montague  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra
  6. Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss), ballet in 4 scenes for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  London Symphony Orchestra
  7. Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), ballet in 2 parts for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  London Symphony Orchestra
  8. Le Rossignol, opera (lyric tale) in 3 acts  - Igor Stravinsky  - Sally Burgess  - Robert Craft  - Peter Hall  -  London Voices  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra  - Simon Preece  - Stephen Richardson  - Robert Tear  - Paul Whelan  - Andrew Greenan  - Olga Trifonova  - Pippa Longworth
  9. Apollon musagète, ballet in 2 scenes for string orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  London Symphony Orchestra  - Alexandre Seon
  10. Agon, ballet for 12 dancers & orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  Orchestra of St. Luke's  - Alexandre Seon
  11. Orpheus, ballet in 3 scenes for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  -  London Symphony Orchestra  - Alexandre Seon
  12. Jeu de cartes (Card Game), ballet in "three deals" for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  - Jean de la Fontaine  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra
  13. Danses concertantes, for chamber orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  - Jean de la Fontaine  -  Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble
  14. Scènes de ballet, for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  - Jean de la Fontaine  -  Orchestra of St. Luke's
  15. Variations: Aldous Huxley in Memoriam, for orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  - Jean de la Fontaine  -  London Philharmonic Orchestra
  16. Capriccio, for piano & orchestra  - Igor Stravinsky  - Igor Stravinsky  - Robert Craft  - Jean de la Fontaine  -  Orchestra of St. Luke's  - Mark Wait

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