Stravinsky: Petrushka; The Rite of Spring; Les noces; The Firebird

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Stravinsky
LABELS: Decca Double Decca
WORKS: Petrushka; The Rite of Spring; Les noces; The Firebird
PERFORMER: Basia Retchitzka (soprano), Lucienne Devalier (contralto), Hugues Cuénod (tenor), Heinz Rehfuss, Vladimir Diakoff (bass); Motet Choir of Geneva, Suisse Romande Orchestra/ Ernest Ansermet
CATALOGUE NO: 443 467-2 ADD (1958/61)
Ansermet founded the Suisse Romande Orchestra in 1918 and directed it for nearly fifty years. His name was closely linked with Stravinsky’s music, and he was the first to conduct Les noces, in Paris in 1923. His 1961 recording of the work is the best thing on these discs. He was renowned for his meticulous attention to detail, and this is manifest in the rest of the programme – a pleasingly atmospheric Firebird, a Rite of Spring that rises to moments of passion, and a Petrushka that admittedly starts rather half-heartedly. The sound, unfortunately, is veiled and lacks brightness and immediacy. Wadham Sutton