Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky * JS Bach/Stokowski: JS Bach/Stokowski Fugue, 'Little'

Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky * JS Bach/Stokowski: JS Bach/Stokowski Fugue, 'Little'

Article excerpt

Stravinsky * JS Bach/Stokowski

JS Bach/Stokowski Fugue, 'Little', BWV578. Passacaglia and Fugue, BWV582. Toccata and Fugue, BWV565 Stravinsky The Rite of Spring. Pastorale (arr Stokowski)

Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick N6zet-S6guin

DG (F) 4791074GH (63' * DDD)

Though a devoted fan of Leopold Stokowski for more years than I can remember, the coupling of the names Stokowski and Stravinsky on the booklet cover allied to the title The Rite of Spring filled me with momentary dread: could this be a digital re-enactment of the mauled Rite arrangement as rendered soundtrack material for Disney's Fantasia? Happily it isn't. Rather it harks back to Stokowski's premiere 1929 Philadelphia recording (far more impressive) with a performance that, while not comparable with the very best (Gustavo Dudamel is among the newest contenders for that accolade), has many fine points. The opening is especially memorable, with a darkly wailing, characterfully intoned bassoon and some notably fluid woodwind phrasing. Thereafter the performance rides a course somewhere between guarded brilliance and elevated routine until we reach the closing 'Sacrificial Dance', which, frustratingly given the context, is granted one of the most balletic performances I've ever heard, edgy, buoyant and viscerally exciting. …

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