This famous performance, Ansermet's last testament (it was recorded shortly before his death, with an orchestra that obviously admired him greatly and was anxious to respond to his authority) now sounds, to my ears, slightly cool, even detached. One or two more recent recordings have found more shadowy mystery in the score and several have conveyed more driving energy in the more exciting pages. It is a matter of taste, no doubt: The Firebird is for some a really most un-Stravinskian score, and for them a more overtly Rimsky-ish account will be preferable. But the sheer beauty of sound is a delight throughout, not just the subtlety and precision of the orchestral playing (which includes some very fine solo work) but the un-exaggeratedRead more clarity of detail, the wholly natural and credible perspective and the finely judged dynamic shadings (how much of this score takes place on the quiet side of mp!).
All these qualities are enhanced by the CD recording, which adds a degree of directness without damaging the spaciousness of the sound. Not the least virtue of Ansermet's approach is the readiness with which it evokes dance. His interpretation still earns its place in the catalogue.
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: Russia Date of Recording: 11/1968 Venue: Kingsway Hall, London Length: 47 Minutes 36 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
An inspired performanceMay 8, 2012By S. Livingston (Peabody, MA)See All My Reviews"Although technically, this performance is not as tidy as recent performances by other major orchestras, it still has a loving sense of occasion. Ansermet really reaches the heart of this music and the orchestra gives a powerful and totally committed performance. You can tell Ansermet felt at one with this music, there is a sense of magic and sensuality to many of his recording of Stravinsky, and this is certainly one of them. I would not be without this recording, I have it on LP. Always one of my favorite. The CD has a great sense of depth and a wide soundstage with excellent bass and treble that is the Decca sound. Enjoy this music as it was meant to be played. "Report Abuse