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Stravinsky: The Firebird; Bartók: Two Portraits / Dohnányi, Vienna


Release Date: 10/18/2004 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4762700   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Igor StravinskyBéla Bartók
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Import   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


On balance, this is the finest complete Firebird on disc. It's also a tribute to a conductor who's often taken for granted. Christoph von Dohnányi demonstrates his mastery of this score on every page, not least in his ability to get the Vienna Philharmonic to preserve all of its storied virtues of innate musicality, warmth, rich-toned strings, and glowing horns, while also imposing on them a most un-Viennese accuracy of rhythm, precision of intonation (from the winds), agility (from the trumpets), and vividness (the percussion). The creepy music representing Kashchei's realms has great atmosphere, but also obtains the necessary clarity. The scherzo is light as a feather, the infernal dance is
Read more wonderfully menacing but also excitingly athletic, the finale is simply the best ever, and the transitions and tempos are all perfectly judged. Dohnányi also is the first conductor (I believe) before Robert Craft to include the onstage trumpet parts at the very end (just before the grandioso repetition of the closing "bell" theme), adding to the music's Stravinskian pageantry. Bartók's Two Portraits (not to be confused with the Two Pictures!), benefit from the same virtues, and the sonics are Decca's best. Released during the "go-go" '80s and never much commented on, this budget release shouldn't be missed. It's thrilling, and it's a steal.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Firebird by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Russia 
2.
Portraits (2) for Orchestra, Op. 5/Sz 37 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1911; Budapest, Hungary 

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