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Sounds Of The 30s - Stravinsky, Ravel, Weill / Bollani, Chailly, Gewandhaus


Release Date: 05/22/2012 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001679602   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Maurice RavelIgor StravinskyKurt WeillVictor De Sabata
Performer:  Stefano Bollani
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



RAVEL Piano Concerto in G. WEILL Surabaya Johnny. Tango Ballad. SABATA Mille e una Notte Stefano Bollani (pn); Riccardo Chailly, cond; Gewandhaus O DECCA 4764832 (66: 15)


& STRAVINSKY Tango (2 versions)


Gimmicky album titles tend Read more to irk me. If you have a good or interesting concept, fine, but to call this album Sounds of the ’30s and then mix in a superb piano concerto by Ravel that has nothing to do with “the ’30s” except that’s when it was written, then combine it with Weill’s rather gimmicky short pieces and an oddity by a conductor-composer whose works are little known regardless of the decade in which he wrote them, well, that’s just a dumb concept.


Happily, the performances preserved here are excellent. Although Chailly’s conducting of the Ravel concerto is less intense or lyrically molded than the performance by pianist Ian Parker and conductor Michael Francis on Atma 2656, this version does explore the more delicate textures of the score with a greater variety of shadings and levels of orchestral transparency. On the keyboard side, Bollani’s playing is equally as scintillating as Parker’s.


The filler pieces by Stravinsky and Weill are just that, fillers, though I’ve always gotten a kick out of the former’s Tango. Surabaya Johnny, from Weill’s Happy End, always sounds like a leftover piece from Threepenny Opera. The Tango Ballad is a piece from Threepenny Opera, titled in the famous 1970s New York production as “The Ballad of Immoral Earnings.” Bollani plays both of them with a quite appealing wistful melancholy, and the Stravinsky Tango has exactly the right rhythm and feel.


Understandably, the principal interest in this release centers on the suite from conductor Victor de Sabata’s ballet Mille e una notte (A Thousand and One Nights), which premiered at La Scala in 1931. The ballet was somewhat cobbled together from seven scenes written by Giuseppe Adami, who had been the librettist for Puccini’s Turandot ; it bridges the action between “ancient, exotic Persia” and the Jazz Age, which gave de Sabata the license to write “jazzy” themes (including one that sounds like a direct steal from Gershwin’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”). Overall, the music vacillates between delightful and highly creative pop classical themes and moments that sound like rather goopy movie music, but Chailly’s performance concentrates on the fun aspects of the score and is absolutely delightful to hear.


Gimmicky or not, this is overall a fine album of music from the 1930s. I take issue with annotator Philip Clark’s assertion, for instance, that the clarinet in the last movement of Ravel’s concerto serves as “a reference to classic jazz clarinet as practiced by the likes of Johnny Dodds and Pee Wee Russell” (does Clark even know what Pee Wee Russell sounded like?), but what the heck. If you can sell a few dozen extra copies of something by referring to Dodds or Russell, knock yourself out.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano in G major by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Stefano Bollani (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1931; France 
2.
Tango by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Notes: Arrangement: Felix Guenther 
3.
Happy End: Surabaya Johnny by Kurt Weill
Performer:  Stefano Bollani (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Berlin, Germany 
4.
Die Dreigroschenoper: Tango Ballad "Zuhälterballade" by Kurt Weill
Performer:  Stefano Bollani (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Berlin, Germany 
5.
Le Mille E Una Notte: Suite by Victor De Sabata
Performer:  Stefano Bollani (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
6.
Tango by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Stefano Bollani (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto in G: 1. Allegramente
Piano Concerto in G: 2. Adagio assai
Piano Concerto in G: 3. Presto
Tango: Tango (Piano version)
Happy End (1929) / Part 2 - Songs of Love and Innocence: Surabaya Johnny
Die Dreigroschenoper: Zuhälterballade (Tango Ballad)
Tango: Tango (Orchestral version)
Suite from Le Mille E Una Notte

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Scarce and rare ballet music alert ! June 20, 2012 By ADRIAN R. (WINDSOR, Victoria) See All My Reviews "For inveterate collectors of ballet music, this is a must have disc. Hidden under the bland title "Sounds Of The 30'S" is a recording of a suite, prepared by it's composer Victor De Sabata shortly before his death, from a ballet [written for performance at La Scala and premiered in 1931] entitled "Mille E Una Notte". And if you are a bit sick of all the "musiquette" and "neo-whatever" ballet scores of the '20's from the likes of Auric, Milhaud etc. this will surely give great pleasure. A very large Straussian orchestra plays a lush exotic score. Given the paucity of information in the CD booklet and on the net regarding the exact details of the plot line for the ballet one must presume that it is a heady brew of the Arabian Nights updated to a Gershwinesque, European dream of New York. Given that Respighi also composed a ballet for La Scala around the same time [Belkis - Regina Di Saba] and on a similarly large scale as the De Sabata, we need to rethink our ideas regarding inter-war ballet scores." Report Abuse
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