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Stravinsky: L'oiseau De Feu, Le Sacre Du Printemps / Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony


Release Date: 04/27/1999 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 68898   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Stuart NeillStephanie Cosserat
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony OrchestraSan Francisco Symphony ChorusSan Francisco Girls Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 9 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


This is one of the best recordings yet to come from the Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony partnership. Tilson Thomas has long established his credentials as an excellent Stravinsky conductor, most recently in his fine RCA album of the composer's later works entitled Stravinsky in America. Now with his own orchestra (which plays fabulously throughout), he undertakes the ever-popular Firebird and Rite of Spring ballets, and brings them off stunningly. The Firebird benefits from Tilson Thomas' uncanny sensitivity to Stravinsky's instrumental colors, like the syncopated clarinet and piano notes in the Infernal Dance, which here sound paradoxically like Copland (another of the conductor's
Read more favorite composers). We also clearly hear the glissando trombones at the end of the dance, a Ravelian-sounding passage that points up the debt of both composers to Rimsky-Korsakov.

But timbre is not the only concern of this performance: Tilson Thomas is acutely attuned to Stravinsky's rhythms, especially so in the Rite of Spring, which receives one of its most blistering performances in recent years, even upstaging Yoel Levi's with the Atlanta Symphony on Telarc. Those crucial rhythms, combined with an irresistible momentum, create a highly intense atmosphere, which the conductor sustains while paying scrupulous attention to the music's melodic and harmonic structure, making us aware of its harsh beauties as well as its raw power. Especially important is the percussion section, and Tilson Thomas has it playing full-out--listen to the tam-tam in Dance of the Earth, or the antique cymbals in Procession of the Sage.

Persephoné (1934), based on the Greek legend, dramatizes the story of the goddess of spring's descent to Hades to become the bride of Pluto. After seeing the earth caught in the grip of winter, Persephoné returns to bring spring to the land, but only once year. In addition to the choreographed music, Stravinsky includes sung text and spoken narration (all in French). This is bitterly beautiful music, as only Stravinsky can be, and Tilson Thomas and his orchestra turn in yet another masterful performance. Tenor Stuart Neill and narrator Stephanie Cosserat bring the drama to life with their incisive, vibrant renditions. RCA's recording presents a very wide and deep sound stage with plenty of detail, lacking only the extreme bass of the Telarc recording for Levi. [4/13/2002]
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Firebird by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 2/1998 
Venue:  Live  Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA 
Length: 47 Minutes 33 Secs. 
2.
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
Date of Recording: 9/1996 
Venue:  Live  Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA 
Length: 34 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Perséphone by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Stuart Neill (Tenor), Stephanie Cosserat (Speaker)
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; France 
Date of Recording: 6/16/1997 
Venue:  Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA 
Length: 47 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 

Sound Samples

Introduction
Le Jardin enchanté de Kastchei / The Enchanted Garden of Kashchei
Apparation de l'oiseau de feu, poursuivi par Ivan Tsarévitch / Apparition of the Firebird, followed by Ivan Tsarevitch
Danse de l'oiseau de feu / Dance of the Firebird
Capture de l'oiseau de feu par Ivan Tsarévitch / Capture of the Firebird by Ivan Tsarevitch
Supplication de l'oiseau de feu; Apparation des treize princesses enchantées / Plea of the Firebird; Apparition of the Thirteen Enchanted Princesses
Jeu des princesses avec les pommes d'or (Scherzo) / Play of the Princesses with the Golden Apples (Scherzo)
Brusque apparation d'Ivan Tsarévitch / Sudden apparition of Ivan Tsarevitch
Chorovod (Ronde) des princesses / Chorovod (Round) of the Princesses
Lever du jour; Ivan Tsarévitch pénètre dans le palais de Kastchei / Sunrise; Ivan Tsarevitch penetrates the Palace of Kashchei
Carillon féerique; Apparation des monstres; Gardeins de Kastchei et capture d'Ivan Tsarévitch / Magical Chimes; Apparition of the Monsters; Guards of Kashchei and Capture of Ivan Tsarevitch
Danse de la suite de Kastchei enchantée par l'oiseau de feu / Dance of the Suite of Kashchei enchanted by the Firebird
Danse infernale de tous les sujets de Kastchei / Infernal Dance of all the Subjects of Kashchei
Disparation du palais est des sortilèges de Kastchei; Animation des chevaliers petrifies; Allégresse générale / Disappearance of the Palace and of the Magic Spells of Kashchei; Animation of the Petrified Knights; All rejoice
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Introduction
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Les Augures printaniers; Danses des adolescentes / The Augurs of Spring; Dances of the Young Girls
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Jeu du rapt / Ritual of Abduction
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Rondes printanières / Spring rounds
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Jeux des cités rivales / Ritual of the Rival Tribes
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Cortège du sage / Procession of the Sage
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Le Sage / The Sage
Première Partie: L'Adoration de la terre / PART I: Adoration of the Earth: Danse de la terre / Dance of the Earth
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Introduction
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Cercles mysterieux des adolescentes / Mystic Circles of the Young Girls
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Glorification de l'élue / Glorification of the Chosen One
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Evocation des ancêtres / Evocation of the Ancestors
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Action rituelle des ancêtres / Ritual Action of the Ancestors
Seconde Partie: Le Sacrifice / PART II: The Sacrifice: Danse sacrale (L'élue) / Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One)

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