Stravinsky, “The Rite of Spring & The Firebird Suite”, by Grant Stoner


My music pic for this month is Stravinsky “The Rite Of Spring“ and “The Firebird Suite” Leonard Bernstein conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, Sony Music 2004 cd Masterworks expanded edition.

Now I have probably 10 versions of “The Rite”, and the search for the best is finally over. This one is it. From the first notes of the bassoon arising from black silence, to the thunderous tympani, the sound is amazing. The performance is exemplary, but let’s face it, any world class orchestra could pull it off. So, I’d say the quality of the recording makes the largest difference, and this one is great.

The performance of “The Firebird“ is also great, and the sound is full and defined, but a small noticeable hiss is evident, maybe due to being recorded in 1957 versus 1972 for “The Rite”.

Also included in this edition is Prokofiev ‘s “Scythian Suite Op 20”. I’ve never heard this work. It starts out quite bombastic, then moves thru many exotic moods. A good match with the Stravinsky pieces. Not background music, but definitely for deep listening, some of my very favorites.

San Francisco Audiophile Society

San Francisco Audiophile Society