Notes and Editorial Reviews
For all that’s made of The Rite of Spring’s extraordinary rhythmic component, there’s a sophisticated harmonic dimension as well, something easily discerned in Eduardo Mata’s very intellectual reading. Part One’s Dance of the Adolescents goes at a slowish pace (similar to Bernstein in his last recording with the Israel Philharmonic on DG), but this allows you to hear Stravinsky’s pungent harmonies and tangy tone colors. Echoes of Petrushka abound, as do suggestions of Mussorgsky. That’s not to say that Mata shortchanges the music’s physicality–there’s plenty of brawn to go along with the brain, as in Dance of the Earth, which features a wonderfully prominent tam-tam, or the rhythmically exacting Glorification of the Chosen One. Still, there’s a certain ferocity that you find in recordings by Bernstein, Chailly, Muti, or Salonen that’s missing in Mata’s (listeners wanting the most shocks-per-minute, as well as the loudest bass drum, should definitely seek out Chailly’s performance). Mata’s reading is more about power allied to color and nuance: listen to his beautifully balanced (again, somewhat slow) Sacrificial Dance at the work’s close.
A similar approach informs Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite. Although Mata generates sufficient brutality from the Dallas Symphony, it’s tempered a bit by the musicians’ exceptionally polished playing–more beautiful than brash (no such concern in Bernstein’s rough-and-raw rendition with the New York Philharmonic). However, as with the Stravinsky, the playing is a delight in itself. Dorian’s spacious and very vivid recording really brings the music to life, setting the seal on an interesting coupling, and one certainly desirable for Mata fans.
-- Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com