Stravinsky / Bartok: Ballet Music
Lorin Maazel; Christoph von Dohnányi
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4840180
Barcode
00028948401802
Format
2-CD
About

Stravinsky’s ground-breaking trilogy of Diaghilev-commissions plus a scandalous Bartók ballet, treated to sumptuous late-70s Decca engineering and the Vienna Philharmonic sound.

Christoph von Dohnányi has long been considered one of the most versatile conductors of our time, making a name for himself in particular with the works of Romanticism and the Second Viennese School. From early in his career he established an excellent rapport with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Both in concert and on record he drew from them, playing of unusual transparency and clean attacks, in music from Mendelssohn to Philip Glass.

This generous Eloquence anthology of four complete Decca LPs brings together the Vienna Philharmonic’s only Stravinsky recordings for Decca and finds Dohnányi on home turf with ballets by his countryman Bartók and by Stravinsky that leap from the speakers thanks to both the conductor’s vivid characterisation and to first-class Decca analogue sound. ‘Petrushka’ and ‘The Miraculous Mandarin’ (complete with chorus) were taped in the Sofiensaal in 1977 with ‘The Firebird’ following two years later. In the same 1979 sessions, Dohnányi and the VPO also recorded the pair of Portraits which the young Bartók wrote while in love with the violinist, Stefi Geyer: the solo part here is played with luscious tone by the native-Viennese violinist, Erich Binder then leader of both the VPO and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra.

The Diaghilev trilogy is completed with Lorin Maazel’s 1974 VPO recording of ‘The Rite of Spring’, done in the grand manner and with the conductor’s typical attention to detail and fine balancing of inner parts.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

CD 1
IGOR STRAVINSKY
L’Oiseau de feu
The Firebird (1910 version)
Wiener Philharmoniker
Christoph von Dohnányi

Le Sacre du printemps
The Rite of Spring (1921 version)
Wiener Philharmoniker
Lorin Maazel

CD 2
Petrouchka
Petrushka (1947 version)
Wiener Philharmoniker
Horst Göbel, piano
Christoph von Dohnányi

BÉLA BARTÓK
Two Portraits, Sz. 37 (Op. 5)
Wiener Philharmoniker
Erich Binder, solo violin
Christoph von Dohnányi

The Miraculous Mandarin, Sz. 73 (Op. 19)
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Chorus master: Helmut Froschauer
Wiener Philharmoniker
Christoph von Dohnányi

Track previews
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 8. Adagio
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 3. Jeu du rapt
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 3. Glorification d'élue
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 4. Évocation des ancêtres
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Magic Carillon, Appearance of Kashchei's Guardian Monsters and Capture of Ivan Tsarevich
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Dance of Kashchei's Retinue Under the Spell of the Firebird
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Infernal Dance of All Kashchei's Subject's
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Collapse of Kashchei's Palace and Dissolution of All Enchantments - Reanimation of the Petrified Prisoners - General Rejoicing
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 1. Introduction
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 2. Les augures printaniers - Danses des adolescentes
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 4. Rondes printanières
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 1. Introduction
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Appearance of the Firebird Pursued by Ivan Tsarevich
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Dance of the Firebird
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Ivan Tsarevich Captures the Firebird
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Supplication of the Firebird
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Game of the Princesses with the Golden Apples
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Sudden Appearance of Ivan Tsarevich
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Round Dance of the Princesses
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Daybreak
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Introduction
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 2. Cercles mysteriéux des adolescentes
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 7b. Adoration of the Earth
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 9. Agitato
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 7. Sempre vivo
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 10. Molto moderato
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 11. Piu mosso
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 1. Allegro
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 2. 1st Decoy Game (Moderato)
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 3. 2nd Decoy Game
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 4. 3rd Decoy Game (Sostenuto)
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 5. Maestoso
The Miraculous Mandarin, BB 82, Sz. 73, Op. 19 - Pantomime in 1 Act by Melchior Lengyel: 6. Allegro
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 5. Action rituelle des ancêtres
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 7a. Le sage
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 2, Le Sacrifice: 6. Danse sacrale: l'élue
Petrouchka (Version 1947): Pt. 1. Shrovetide Fair - Danse Russe
Petrouchka (Version 1947): Pt. 2. Petrushka
Petrouchka (Version 1947): Pt. 3. The Blackamoor - Valse
Petrouchka (Version 1947): Pt. 4. Shrovetide Fair - The Death of Petrushka
2 Portraits, Op. 5, Sz.37, BB 48b: 1. "Ideal"
2 Portraits, Op. 5, Sz.37, BB 48b: 2. "Distorted"
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 5. Jeux des cités
Le Sacre du Printemps, Pt. 1, L'Adoration de la Terre: 6. Cortège du sage - Le sage
The Firebird - Ballet (1910): Kashchei's Enchanted Garden
Recording information

Recording Producers: Michael Woolcock (The Rite of Spring); James Mallinson (Petrushka, The Firebird, The Miraculous Mandarin, Two Portraits)
Balance Engineers: Gordon Parry, Jack Law (The Rite of Spring); Colin Moorfoot (Petrushka); James Lock, James Brown (The Firebird); James Brown (Two Portraits); Colin Moorfoot, John Pellowe (The Miraculous Mandarin)
Recording Location: Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, 25–28 March 1974 (The Rite of Spring), 6, 14 & 15 December 1977 (Petrushka), 22–24 November 1977 (The Miraculous Mandarin), 26 September 1979 (Two Portraits), 27 September & 9 October 1979 (The Firebird)
Original Decca LP Releases: SXL 6735 (The Rite of Spring); SXL 6883 (Petrushka); SXL 6882 (The Miraculous Mandarin, Two Portraits); SXDL 7511 (The Firebird)

Reviews

‘refreshing and illuminating … blistering playing’ Limelight

‘Dohnányi’s direction of ‘The Miraculous Mandarin’ … is clean, precise and often beautiful … The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is radiantly beautiful, helped by a spacious recording. Erich Binder is a first-class soloist in the ‘Portraits’.’ The New Penguin Stereo Record Guide

‘Dohnányi directs a genial and well-paced reading… revealing the Vienna Philharmonic as a band very sympathetic to repertoire not normally associated with it.’ The New Penguin Stereo Record Guide (Petrushka)

Dohnányi’s opulent reading goes delightfully counter to the antiseptic dissections that have all too often come to pass for insightful performances; having chosen such an approach, he hardly could have done better than record with the Vienna Philharmonic. The orchestra plays beautifully, with particularly gorgeous contributions from the first oboe and horn in their ubiquitous solos.’ Fanfare, May/June 1981 (Firebird)

‘[In the Bartók] Dohnanyi doesn’t spare them a bit: the chase is one of the most exciting on disc, while the subsequent attack and attempted murder of the Mandarin (with terrifying organ sound) will make your hair stand on end … It’s a great performance, and so is the ‘Petrushka’ … Sonically this stands among Decca’s best recordings from this source. A sensational reissue…’ ClassicsToday.com

‘First-rate performances of two of the most exciting scores in the twentieth-century ballet repertoire … the VPO’s playing is excellent … a splendid reissue that can be confidently recommended’ MusicWeb