Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

by David Bernard


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David Bernard's performance of the 2015 corrected edition of Igor Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps" has generated considerable excitement, and the numerous textual issues that Bernard and scholar Clinton Nieweg have discovered make this performance with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony one of a kind. Yet corrected editions also have a way of creating controversy, so this 2016 release on Recursive Classics may well cause some skepticism, especially for obsessives who have studied this work closely. Without benefit of a corrected score, the listener must take on faith the changes that distinguish this edition from Stravinsky's manuscript of 1913, published in 1921, and subsequent revisions from 1929, 1947, and 1967. What listeners can discern is that the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony has been considerably augmented to the size of Stravinsky's intended large orchestra, and there's little to complain about in terms of tone colors, dynamics, and sheer musical power. Along the way, though, trained ears may pick up differences in articulation and attack, as well as some peculiar intonation problems in the strings, which aren't quite startling but noticeable, and feel the need to compare this recording with others that have been accepted as valid over the years. Bernard has paired "Le Sacre du printemps" with Béla Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra," which has not been revised or corrected, but merely offered to balance the program with a work of comparable popularity and musical heft. Recursive's recorded sound has a wide frequency range, so it handles explosive passages quite well, though softer sections may seem a little thin.

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