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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here is the missing link, the major recording that Sony/BMG omitted from its 10-CD Rite of Spring box. This isn’t the best played performance in terms of technical perfection, but it has an excitement, spontaneity, and primal fury that no other version quite matches. It fully deserves its legendary status. Perhaps its most remarkable moment occurs during the Sacrificial Dance. Bernstein begins swiftly, then holds back in the central section, layering on the sonority and building tension before sprinting forward thrillingly in the final pages (sound clip). It’s a unique conception that he never repeated (at least not to the same degree), a true spur-of-the-moment inspiration.
remastering has been excellently done. Notwithstanding the age of the recording (55 years!), this has to be one of the most detailed and realistically engineered performances available. While there are a couple instances of perilous ensemble, the playing as such is magnificent, and the orchestra’s principal trumpet, horn, and woodwinds, renowned players all, contribute countless memorable moments, vividly captured with tactile presence. No wonder Stravinsky heard this performance and reportedly was left speechless, save for an admiring “Wow!”
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century
Date of Recording: 01/20/1958
Venue: St. George Hotel, Brooklyn, New York
Length: 34 Minutes 12 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 4 Customer Reviews )
A Truly Classic 'Rite' November 24, 2017
By Christopher Abbot (Westport, MA) See All My Reviews
"I heartily concur with the reviews written when this reissue was new. I have an earlier version of this performance which was included with the 'Original Jacket' box of Leonard Bernstein/NYPO recordings, and hesitated to duplicate that version. I'm glad I finally did: the improved sound makes this CD a bargain indeed. The main difference between this and the earlier master is in the sensation of depth of soundstage that this newer remastering has provided; the extra presence which the elimination of some of the earlier noise-cancelling provides gives a better sense of the orchestral sound. Session photos show the orchestra seated in a very widely-spaced arrangement, providing quite a bit of left-right spread to the sound. The only somewhat odd thing about the seating is that the trumpets, trombones, and tubas are on the conductor's left, rather than to the right as on later recordings with this team; this tends to unbalance the sound a bit. But that little niggle aside, this is a superb recording provided with excellent packaging and annotation. A must-have."
DEFINITELY NO SLOUCH! December 12, 2014
By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews
"While I was reviewing another recording of this piece---with many references to one Soupy Sales---I mentioned that there were three performances of Le Sacre I much preferred: Esa-Pekka Salonen; Pierre Monteux---and this one I just purchased, Leonard Bernstein, who I said was not exactly a slouch when it came to the Rite of Spring. Well, I have to mention this one---Bernstein was definitely no slouch conducting this work. Even with a couple of misplays, this is one of the most exciting, electrifying performances ever! Now I have three of them, to savor and delight in. Merci beaucoup!"
Igor said August 16, 2014
By owen ryan (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews
"This recording has all the powerfully raw playing you would expect but it focuses on the primitive, propitiation driven religious impulse that strives to come to grip with the great unknown mysteries of existence. Johnathan Cott in his booklet essay describes how in listening to this performance he ''had a vision of the conductor-transported by the rhythms of his percussion section consisting of two timpani, bass drum, gong, guiro, tam-tam, triangle and cymbals- dancing on his podium and, in the throes of an ecstatic trance, descending into the lower world and encountering and communing with the throng of spirit animals and animal helpers that inhabit the musical realm of The Rite of Spring, all the while taking ...all of his listeners along for the journey.'' This 1958 recording was remastered in 2012 and the result is sensational. You really need to add this to your collection."