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Franck: Symphony; Stravinsky: Pétrouchka / Monteux, CSO, BSO


Release Date: 07/26/2005 
Label:  Rca Victor Living Stereo Catalog #: 67897   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  César FranckIgor Stravinsky
Performer:  Bernard Zighera
Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraBoston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

*** This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. ***




The third batch of Living Stereo SACD reissues leads off with Pierre Monteux performances that have dominated the field for more than 40 years. Monteux’s Franck Symphony, recorded with the Chicago Symphony in 1961, remains the best on disc. Tension always underlies the brooding; this is work of clarity, control, focus, and power, which never turns to Wagnerian sludge (like so much d’Indy). Listen to the firmness of the opening passage of the Allegretto; it’s beautiful and lyrical, but there’s nothing timid or overly pretty about it. The third movement pushes Read more ahead at just the right pace, decisive but never frantic. Throughout, the woodwinds enjoy a particularly realistic presence, and Monteux and the engineers maintain excellent clarity of texture, except at certain inevitably muddy climaxes (the fault of Franck’s orchestration). There’s still a hint of peak-level distortion affecting the first violins, but that’s been there since the LP days.


Monteux was associated with Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka from its inception in 1911; the composer praised the conductor for “a very clean and finished execution,” which was no small feat, considering the many problems of rhythm and balance and the probably limited quality of the pit orchestra. Monteux gave the first American performance of the music in 1920, when he led the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a suite drawn from the ballet, and he recorded the entire score with that orchestra in 1959; that’s the version at hand. Monteux never forgot the music’s origins on the ballet stage; he begins this performance at an easy tempo, the rhythms strongly marked yet with a lightness to the playing that remains throughout the performance without undercutting the music’s more sinister aspects. The textures may not always be as immaculate as in, say, a Boulez performance, but there’s always a graceful, lithe physicality to the playing here. RCA’s three-channel SACD re-mastering provides the recording’s most lifelike presentation yet.


FANFARE: James Reel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony in D minor, M 48 by César Franck
Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; France 
Date of Recording: 01/07/1961 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 39 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Pétrouchka by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Bernard Zighera (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 01/1959 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 34 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Switzerland (1911).
Composition revised: 1947. 

Sound Samples

Lento
Allegretto
Allegro non troppo
Scene I: The Shrovetide Fair: Vivace
Scene I: The Shrovetide Fair: The Magic Trick
Scene I: The Shrovetide Fair: Russian Dance
Scene II: Pétrouchka's Room
Scene III: The Moor's Room: Feroce stringendo
Scene III: The Moor's Room: Dance of the Ballerina
Scene III: The Moor's Room: Valse
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Con moto
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Wet Nurses' Dance
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Peasant with Bear
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Gypsies
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Dance of the Coachmen
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Masqueraders
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Scuffle
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Death of Pétrouchka
Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening: Pétrouchka's Ghost

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