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Customer Reviews for: The Rite of Spring / The 5 Browns

5 Reviews in Total
5 Star: 2 Reviews
4 Star: 0 Reviews
3 Star: 1 Review
2 Star: 0 Reviews
1 Star: 2 Reviews

Average Review

3.0 Stars (5 Reviews)

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CD:  $17.99
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 What an overwhelming experience December 24, 2013
By Robert Glorieux (Merelbeke, Belgium) -- See All My Reviews
I was about 16 or 17 years old when a dear friend of mine (who passed away last year) let me hear an elpee containing a recording of "Le Sacre du Printemps" by I. Stravinsky. I must confess that I hated that work when I heard it for the first time : all those dissonants and a lack of melody gave me a negative sensation. Later on (after a lot of listenings) I began to appreciate this masterwork : it opened a complete new world to me and now I consider it as a milestone in the history of Classical Music (marvellous melodic lines and the power of the percussion parts). About the interpretation given by the "5 Browns" : from the first note I was completely catched by the convincing and extra-ordinary sounds produced by the five pianos. The sensation that I felt was so asthonishing and breathtaking that this version can easily compete with a performance brought by the finest world-orchestras. I can assure that every buyer of this CD (witch was for me the best purchase in many years) shall be blast away by what they will here..... Report Abuse

 GREAT MUSIC BUT POOR RECORDING AND SOUND November 26, 2013
By Raphael S. (River Ridge, LA) -- See All My Reviews
When I saw the ad for The Five Browns performing the "Rite of Spring" I snapped up a copy of the CD and eagerly awaited its arrival. "The Rite of Spring" is one of my favorite compositions to listen to. I put the CD in my new audiophile grade CD player and started to listen. My disappointment was almost immediate. The recording/sound was terrible. The sound was recessed and the dynamic range compressed. I ejected the disc after only a few minutes of play time. I did not return the disc for a refund because the recording was so bad that it did not deserve the effort. On a positive note Arkiv issued me a credit when I wrote to them with my reaction to the disc. Traditionally the piano is a difficult instrument to record and reproduce so I was not surprised by the poor sound of this disc. Stravinsky deserved better though. Finally, it is only fair to note that the poor quality of this disc is NOT representative of the sound of most of Arkiv's catalogue. I will remain a loyal customer. Report Abuse

 Le Sacre du Printemps: Last Rites for piano November 26, 2013
By Alexander Forbes (Phoenix, AZ) -- See All My Reviews
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, even as originally scored, is a challenge for many classical enthusiasts. I fell in love with it in my early teens. Over the decades, I've since discovered other Stravinsky I like, such as his exquisite short Pastorale, but Rite of Spring is my first and favorite Stravinsky; I know it like the back of my hand. Other enthusiasts are going to ask, as I did, "How original! But how will the 5 Browns ever pull it off with only pianos?" I'm sorry to report that they don't, in my opinion anyway. If you are looking for a new piano experience and it doesn't particularly bother you that it doesn't begin to capture Stravinsky's inimitable and scandalous 1913 ballet, then you might find room for this in your collection as a piano oddity. If you were thinking of adding it to your Stravinsky collection, well, I found the 5 Browns rendition a disappointing one-off. It got one playing before being archived to the CD shelves, a purchasing failure that never made it into my big and eclectic iTunes libraries. I'm not a musician, and lack the musician's vocabulary, but I'm an enthusiastic listener. There ARE a few places where the piano might have replicated some of the rare tender or reflective moments in this Stravinsky work. The 5 Browns are obviously accomplished pianists. Alas, they fail to capture the complex tonal threads or overall mood of this piece, almost as if, and I say "almost" advisedly, they didn't quite understand Stravinsky's work. Perhaps the goal was to go where no piano had ever gone before, but, in my own opinion again, it's "last rites" for a mission that never arrived. Report Abuse

 Dynamic and Revealing November 1, 2013
By Jay S. (Pepper Pike, OH) -- See All My Reviews
I'm very familiar with the Rite, starting with hearing/seeing the Fantasia version as a child and recently this past summer, a performance by the Cleveland with the Joffrey Ballet dancing the original choreography. This version has so much dynamic energy; and it clearly reveals lines I've never noticed before. I greatly enjoy this recording! As an aside: I understand the relationship of Listen Magazine and Arkiv. Is Arkiv producing the Steinway recordings? Each one I've bought has been compelling and audiophile quality. This one will test your stereo's capabilities! Report Abuse

 The Rite is right, the rest is wrong October 26, 2013
By James Carleton (Port Hueneme, CA) -- See All My Reviews
Let me state out the outset that I own over a dozen recordings of Le Sacre du Printemps. Of these, four are of the composer's piano duet 'working version' for ballet rehearsals, and two are of the composer's pianola reduction. I have heard the work in concert several times, including on 9 June, 2005, at the Ojai Music Festival, when Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams splendidly performed the piano duet version. Thus, when this recording was highlighted on Arkiv, I was immediately interested in it, especially as I own and have enjoyed The Five Brown's debut album. Well, the Stravinsky on this album does not disappoint, despite the occasional 'What was *that* note?' moment. I own a copy of the score, and I followed it while listening. In general, the adaptation of the two-piano version to five pianos was done well enough by Jeffrey Shumway, although there are a couple of added 'flourishes' for which I question the need, as they don't occur in the ballet score. Still, even the best arrangers, going back to Grofe and Gershwin, if not beyond them, add something of themselves, if only to distinguish their own work from that of other arrangers. I can live with that. And the Browns certainly put their all into the performance. It is taut, well-paced, full of both drama and pathos, and the conclusion is as firy as any, either piano or orchestral, with the essential delay before the final chords that so many conductors completely ignore. That five people, playing instruments which make it very hard to see all of the other four, can be so psychically in tune with each other that there are no mis-timed notes, in a work with as many time changes as this one has, is beyond amazing. Having bought the MP3 download, my ten dollars was a fair investment just for this performance, and I'll certainly listen to it often in the future. It gets four-and-a-half stars. It is too bad that I cannot say the same for the rest of the album. I do not know who Greg Anderson is, but I shall make a concerted effort to avoid his work in the future. Not only does he 'abridge' (for no good reason) the three planets which are included, but his abridgements tend to eliminate the very sections that make 'Mars' and 'Neptune' (in particular) so memorable. Had he expanded upon Holst's own two-piano arrangement (a recording of which I own on Facet: Richard Rodney Bennett and Susan Bradshaw play magnificently), and left it at just two full movements, rather than three chopped-up ones, I would have been much happier. These get one star, mostly because the Browns play well with what little they are given. Mr. Anderson's 'pastiche' upon the Danse Macabre, while interesting, is terribly overdone. It merits further listens, but will not begin to make up for his sins of ommission and commission with the Holst. Two-and-a-half stars. The really nice thing about MP3s is that one can re-arrange the order in which things are played on one's device, or delete some things entirely :-D I cannot fault the Browns too much for the artistic choices made, although as artists, they should have been more involved in the decisions. They did their own arrangements in their debut; not all of them worked as well as they could have, but they all showed potential, and a couple of them were marvelous. I wish that they had done the arranging of the Holst, as I suspect they would have done a better job of it. But, as so often happens with young performers trying to make a name for themselves, it would appear that they allowed their handlers to make artistic decisions that they, the artists, would have been better advised to make on their own. One hopes that they will learn from this, put their ten feet down, force the issue, and do their own arranging in the future. Report Abuse

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