Notes and Editorial Reviews
[H]ere Eduardo Mata, who recently made a fine colourful record of Copland with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, of which he is music director (RCA RL12862, 5/79), presents a comparably colourful and well-sprung reading of The Rile of Spring, one which links it with The Firebird, and the exotic tradition of Diaghilev ballet, rather than bringing Out the brutal revolutionary qualities. That is not to say it lacks power at all. In many ways it is more red-blooded than the fine versions listed above from Haitink (Philips) and Abbado (DG), and the opulent RCA recording, weighty with timpani, adds to the impact, even if with its reverbation it is not quite so analytical as those for Abbado or Haitink.
Abbado is fiercer and sharper with cleaner contrasts, Haitink is more objective with refined playing and recording, and I could go on through a long list defining various advantages. But Mata certainly earns a place with his sprung syncopations and accents, all leading you to register this as music for dancing. If the LSO playing is not quite so meticulously precise in its discipline as with Abbado, it gives even more keenly the feeling of a live performance with its changing tensions. One of my reservations is over the Prelude to Part 2—"The Mystic Circles of the Young Girls"—where at a tempo faster than usual the woodwind seem too forward and loud, obscuring the subtle string effects, while at the end of that section the ripe phrasing of the violins is very much in the espressiro tradition of Russian romanticism. Most distinctive of all perhaps, summing tip what I have been saying of the performance, is Mata's reading of the final "Sacrificial Dance". At a slower tempo than usual Mata is able to inject his characteristic rhythmic pointing, so that to a degree rare in music generally treated with objective metricality Mata introduces a swing to the rhythm, a hint of 'jazzing' which I confess I rather like.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [7/1979, reviewing Le sacre du printemps]
...First of all, the recording is splendidly vivid and cleanly detailed, and as with other issues in this series, the silent background and noiseless surfaces of these German pressings greatly enhance one's pleasure. The Firebird Suite is well played and finely characterized... Mata's account of the splendid Symphony in three movements of 1945 is to be preferred to the Ansermet version referred to above: the orchestral playing is better and the recording is so well detailed and lifelike. The Dallas performance is not quite so taut and highly charged as was the Columbia Symphony Orchestra for Stravinsky himself but it is still thoroughly alert and idiomatic. For those wanting the Symphony in three movements this is strongly recommended and though in The Firebird, this does not displace Muti or Abbado, it is eminently acceptable.
-- Gramophone [7/1980, reviewing the Firebird Suite and the Symphony in Three Movements]