Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Petrushka; The Firebird Suite; Symphony in Three Movements; Scènes de ballet

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Stravinsky
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: The Rite of Spring; Petrushka; The Firebird Suite; Symphony in Three Movements; Scènes de ballet
PERFORMER: Israel PO/Leonard Bernstein
CATALOGUE NO: 445 538-2 DDD (1983-85)
Frenzied, eruptive playing from the Israel Philharmonic in Bernstein’s 1982 Rite; certainly not his most orderly account, but forged in the galvanic atmosphere of a live event, amid adrenalin surges which only confrontational music-making can release; a performance of phenomenal power and amplitude. Bernstein’s innate sense of theatre pays dividends in a splendidly graphic Petrushka, the virtuoso orchestral piano part taken here by Boris Berman. The 1919 Firebird Suite, occasionally untidy during Kastchei’s ‘Danse infernale’, is nonetheless vividly emphatic, though less successful than Bernstein’s exemplary reading of the Symphony in Three Movements of 1945; this, and the viscerally potent, roller-coaster Rite, are highlights of a welcome two-disc set. Michael Jameson

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