Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky: Petrushka

Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky: Petrushka

Article excerpt


Petrushka (1911 version). The Rite of Spring

Les Steeles / Francois-Xavier Roth

Les Steeles Live/Musicales Actes Sud [F] ASM15

(69' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Arsenal, Metz, MC2, Grenoble, and Alte Oper, Frankfurt, May & September 2013

Francois-Xavier Roth and his highly responsive cohorts give us a strikingly fresh-faced, wonderfully vibrant Petrushka in its original 1911 guise, lent extra transparency and individuality by the deployment of French-made instruments from the era. For a taster of the intriguingly different colour palette on offer, beam to the 'Peasant with bear' episode in the final tableau, where clarinets and tuba howl in anguish over menacingly insistent cellos and basses (tr 22, from 2'28"). There's also a terrific rhythmic elan when required, most exhilaratingly evident during those boundlessly energetic measures that cap the 'Dance of the Coachmen' (tr 23, from 1'25"--I defy you to keep still!). Not only does Roth evince a sure dramatic instinct and considerable interpretative nous but he also distils a very real sense of pathos in the ballet's inspired closing pages. …

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