Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps

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COMPOSERS: Stravinsky
LABELS: Arthaus Musik
ALBUM TITLE: Le Sacre du printemps
WORKS: Le Sacre du printemps
PERFORMER: Film by Oliver Herrmann, music by Berlin PO/Simon Rattle
This is what would have once been called avant-garde cinema. While the musicians give a well-recorded, vibrant performance of The Rite of Spring, a succession of bizarre things are happening on the screen. At the beginning, we see the hands of God in her kitchen, creating three experimental human beings and placing them in a world with which they shun intimate contact: a doctor, who puts on gloves before touching anything; a widow absorbed by her mourning; and a young girl who engages in joyless sex with strangers. Their redemption comes during a solar eclipse when they dream that they are transported to a tropical island, and take part in a purifying ritual of the Santería religion. This involves animal sacrifice and dancing with a group of naked (and apparently spaced-out) people in a candle-lit room. It’s all rather simplistic, and, although some of the visual images are strong, the music is always stronger. But Rattle and the actors, in the interviews which are part of the package, clearly believe in the project. It’s certainly never dull. Martin Cotton