Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky

Magazine article Gramophone

Stravinsky

Article excerpt

Stravinsky The Nightingale (a). Pribaoutki (b). Two Poems by Paul Verlaine (c)   (a) Mojca Erdmann sop        Nightingale (a) Evgeny Akimov ten        Fisherman (a) Marina Prudenskaya sop   Cook (a) Tuomas Pursio bass       Chamberlain (a) Vladimir Vaneev bar      Emperor (a) Feodor Kuznetzov bar     Bonze (a) Mayram Sokolova contr    Death (b) Katrin Wundsam mez (c) Hans Christoph Begemann bar 

WDR Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Cologne / Jukka-Pekka Saraste Orfeo (F) C919 171A (52' * DDD) WDR broadcast performances, (a) May 8-12,2012; October (c) 30 & (b) 31, 2013

With a composition history that straddles the period of the composer's three breakthrough works for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, The Nightingale in many ways presents two different Stravinskys: pre- and post-feYe. A beguiling and mistily atmospheric first act gives way to second and third acts that reflect the composer's new forcefulness and angularity--but does so just when the plot, based on Hans Christian Andersen, itself starts to explore the clash between nature and technology.

Richard Taruskin called the work--just 45 minutes long--a 'touching little Orphic allegory'. It is indeed a gem, beautifully polished up in this new recording. Jukka-Pekka Saraste brings out a remarkable amount of detail in the score, with each line precisely etched and vividly conveyed. The playing is superb--the twittering singsong of many solo lines strikingly alive--and the engineering is natural and detailed.

While the first act is properly beguiling, however, it's as if Saraste is always looking forward to the sound world of the final two acts: there's a real pungency to the music accompanying the bickering courtiers, for example. He brings brilliant, sparkling angularity to the Chinese Dance later on, and is especially good in capturing the impassive objectivity of the Nightingale's mechanical rival. …

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