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Stravinsky: Le Baiser de la Fee; Bartok: Deux Images / Muti


Release Date: 03/07/1995 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 58949   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor StravinskyBéla Bartók
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Scala Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Riccardo Muti is, of course, a noted Tchaikovskian, and this admirable performance of The Fairy's Kiss approximates the tone and lustre of The Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Tchaikovsky was as much a part of Stravinsky's creative consciousness as Mozart was of Tchaikovsky's. All three composers meet in Le baiser de la fée ("The Fairy's Kiss"; 1928), where Tchaikovsky is at his most overtly Mozartian and Stravinsky at his most elegantly balletic. The score is based largely on Tchaikovsky piano pieces and songs; it was commissioned by the dancer Ida Rubinstein, while sections of it were later selected for a separate work, Divertimento, that went on to achieve rather more popularity than the complete ballet.
Read more More recordings, too; some of them of exceptional quality.

Riccardo Muti is, of course, himself a noted Tchaikovskian, and this admirable performance approximates the tone and lustre of, say, The Sleeping Beauty ballet. The very opening has lovingly stressed string accents and a feeling of 'miracles in the offing'. The ensuing Allegro sostenuto is more playful than biting, and while I would have welcomed a keener edge in the third section of Scene I (track 3) and a rather less. sedate approach to the ensuing Vivace agitato, the "Village Fête" is properly buoyant, the third scene's "By the Mill" nicely atmospheric (how utterly Tchaikovskian those oboes and clarinets) and the penultimate "Scene", with its painfully nostalgic references to None but the lonely heart, is played with appealing restraint. Still, it is at that point in particular that memories of Mravinsky's searing 1983 broadcast prompt a quick rush to the shelves, even though imperfect sound and the occasional technical slip-up preclude total rapture. Stravinsky, too, is memorable, a tighter, drier and occasionally more incisive option, while Järvi's characterization and superior sound serve to bolster a third option - and that is about the limit of the competition, at least for the moment. Muti's La Scala strings are sweetly expressive, whereas his winds and brass are not quite in the top league.

The sound is warm, enclosed and scrupulously balanced, a fairly intimate experience, quite appropriate to the music. Ultimately, I would place Muti more or less on a par with Järvi, but not quite the equal either of Mravinsky or of the composer himself.

As to the BartOk Two Pictures, Muti's performance of "In full flower" traces a romantic strain to contrast with Boulez's Debussian axis (see above). Bluebeard is obviously close to hand while the "Village dance" is sleek, witty and very well played, with not much in the way of a native Hungarian accent. It is a good performance and makes for an attractive, if somewhat unexpected, coupling for a worthy Baiser de la fée.

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [9/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le baiser de la fée by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Scala Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928/1950; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Teatro Abanella, Milan, Italy 
Notes: Ver: 1950 
2.
Pictures (2) for Orchestra, Op. 10/Sz 46 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Scala Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Teatro Abanella, Milan, Italy 

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