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Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring, Apollon Musagete / Jaap Van Zweden

Stravinsky / Netherlands Radio Phil / Zweden
Release Date: 07/13/2010 
Label:  Exton   Catalog #: 330   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Jaap Van Zweden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring. Apollon Musagète Jaap van Zweden, cond; Netherlands RPO EXTON 330 (SACD: 63:50)


This coupling of The Rite of Spring and Apollon Musagète provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the nearly unprecedented range of Stravinsky’s styles, but it can also be problematic for listeners because there are not too many people who enjoy or appreciate both works Read more to a similar extent. In the final analysis, that doesn’t really matter much when you have performances and sound like this. Jaap van Zweden’s tempos for The Rite of Spring are just about ideal. He avoids the temptation to be frantic or hysterical, and he doesn’t painfully pound and plod his way through the music. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra yields little to the formidable A-list competition in The Rite of Spring . The brass section has a raw edge that is totally appropriate. There is no attempt to civilize Stravinsky’s musical beast. On the other hand, they even try to let a hint of a fuzzy (but not quite warm) feeling creep into the stark and gray sonorities of Apollon Musagète . Stravinsky’s aggressively cold and abstract study in technique is not everyone’s cup of tea (myself included), but I rather enjoy van Zweden’s interpretation.


Sound is critical for The Rite of Spring . The trick is to maintain the music’s elemental impact and at the same time retain realistic orchestral balances. In other words, don’t put a microphone on top of the timpani and bass drum. Exton’s engineers are very successful in achieving this. Specifically, I have never heard the critically important timpani and bass drum transients recorded with such explosive power while the instruments maintain their proper places toward the rear of the orchestra. The bass drum palpably moves air and shakes the floor if you have the sound system to reproduce it. The brasses are on the edge, but always remain musical. The recording’s dynamic range is astonishing. As for Apollon Musagète , the sound (for the synesthetes out there) generates the previously mentioned cool gray feeling and does not make the strings sound shrill or silvery. To the contrary, they are somewhat soft-edged, and that serves the music well.


Van Zweden and his orchestra make a good case for Apollon Musagète , and The Rite of Spring ranks with the best from both a musical and sonic standpoint. Enthusiastically recommended.


FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Jaap Van Zweden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
Length: 31 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2.
Apollon musagète by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Jaap Van Zweden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 27 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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