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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Stokowski: Bach Transcriptions / Nezet-Seguin, Philadelphia


Release Date: 09/24/2013 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001903202   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor StravinskyJohann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The international debut Deutsche Grammophon orchestral album from leading French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the distinguished Philadelphia Orchestra is a powerful musical tribute to the mighty Leopold Stokowski (1882–1977), 35 years after his death, from the young conductor who now continues his legacy. Stokowski spent some of his most important and fruitful years in charge of the orchestra in Philadelphia, in a position that brought him some of his greatest accomplishments. Musical showmanship, free-thinking, and a populist approach to contemporary music are characteristics of Stokowski’s distinguished conducting and recording career.

This new album focuses on Stravinsky’s daring,
Read more revolutionary, and game-changing ballet score, The Rite of Spring – given its American premiere performance by Stokowski and his Philadelphia Orchestra, and a work that reaches its centenary milestone in 2013. Plus a selection of popular Stokowski transcriptions, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor (J. S. Bach), as heard in its Stokowski version in Disney’s classic movie, Fantasia.

R E V I E W: 3743300.az_STRAVINSKY_Le_Sacre_Pastorale.html

STRAVINSKY Le Sacre du printemps. Pastorale. BACH-STOKOWSKI Toccata and Fugue in d. Fugue in g. Passacaglia and Fugue in c Yannick Nézet-Séguin, cond; Philadelphia O DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 19032 (63:08)


It’s nice to welcome the Philadelphia Orchestra back to the “recording studio” (in this case, its home, Verizon Hall, Philadelphia) and they have returned with a flourish—a spectacular recording of Le Sacre du printemps that’s as good as anybody’s. This is the fourth time the celebrated ensemble has recorded the piece after having given the American premiere in 1922, followed by the first American recording, in 1929. Both of those performances were led by Leopold Stokowski, which explains the strange coupling of Stokowski’s transcriptions of three Bach organ works. Later recordings of Le Sacre du printemps were made by Stokowski’s successors, Eugene Ormandy and Riccardo Muti. The first thing I noticed as the performance of Le Sacre proceeded was not just the refinement and precision of the playing, which one might expect, but the balance of the sections—the proliferation of detail for which I will, for now, have to credit to the conductor. Better yet, this is no “reading”—it’s led by a musician who has opinions about the music and has the control (and the instrument at his disposal) to make tiny but telling adjustments in tempo for emphasis. The performance is personal but in no way could it be described as “eccentric.” Sonically, there’s a vivid stereo spread—the orchestra could be arrayed before you and you can place the instruments. If you have a good subwoofer, beware of the bass drum, which you may feel as well as hear.


Stokowski recorded the transcriptions on this CD several times, and not just with his own orchestra. The Toccata and Fugue and Passacaglia and Fugue were both recorded seven times; the “Little” Fugue, five. Because of Stokowski’s transcriptions, the orchestra had, at one time, a tradition of performing Bach transcriptions that was continued by Eugene Ormandy. Ormandy recorded the Toccata and Fugue and Passacaglia and Fugue twice, but in his own transcriptions. (In fact, I heard him conduct the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor twice.) The orchestra’s bass-clarinetist, Lucien Cailliet, was also a skilled transcriber who ended up scoring for Hollywood films (his film credits are extensive) and more transcriptions were contributed by the orchestra’s assistant conductor, William Smith. They recorded the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor under Muti’s successor, Wolfgang Sawallisch, who also recorded other Stokowski transcriptions. Nézet-Séguin’s performances of these transcriptions also have a dramatic surge to them; he’ll stretch a cadence here and speed up somewhere else—one might say he “channels” Stokowski without imitating him or being vulnerable to charges of tasteless exploitation.


After all this high-tension music-making, the subdued Stravinsky Pastorale that is, presumably, an attempt to tie the package together, seems like quite an anticlimax.


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
2.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Stokowski. 
3.
Fugue in G minor, BWV 578 "Little G minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1706; Arnstadt, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Stokowski. 
4.
Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708-1712; Arnstadt, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Stokowski. 
5.
Pastorale by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Written: 1933 instr chamber e 
Notes: Arranger: Stokowski. 

Sound Samples

Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Introduction
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: The Augurs Of Spring: Dances Of The Young Girls
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Ritual Of Abduction
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Spring Rounds
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Ritual Of The Rival Tribes
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Procession Of The Sage
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: The Sage
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre: Dance Of The Earth
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Introduction (Largo)
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Mystical Circles Of The Young Girls
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Glorification Of The Chosen One
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Evocation Of The Ancestors
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Ritual Action Of The Ancestors
Le Sacre du Printemps / Part 2: Le Sacrifice: Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One)
Toccata And Fugue In D Minor, BWV 565 - Arranged By Leopold Stokowski
Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 "The Little" - Arranged By Leopold Stokowski
Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor, BWV 582 - Arranged By Leopold Stokowski
Pastorale - Arranged By Leopold Stokowski

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Stravinsky/Stokowski February 1, 2014 By Ralph Cavaliere (No. Massapequa, NY) See All My Reviews "Bought it for the Stravinsky "Pastorale" which I had heard on FM Radio WQXR, the day before and was surprised to find the Stokowski Bach transcriptions of the Philadelphians on this same CD. I was mesmerized with this great orchestra...(I remember them well, with Stokowski at the helm....And Toascanini.) Nezet-Seguin follows in their footsteps. If even a three minute piece appeals to me, I'll buy the whole shebang, regardless of cost, but this set is exceptional. I never was into Stravinsky's output, but this recording did some bit of conversion. Thank you, to the musicians, the composers and, to Arkiv." Report Abuse
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