Sep 30

Works of Igor Stravinsky, Conducted by Igor Stravinsky, mostly with the Columbia Symphony?????

I purchased this set with trepidation, since I really didn’t like the works of Stravinsky. I didn’t feel that they connected in the same way that Prokofiev or Shostakovich did, that it was just bombastic noise. I couldn’t resist the price of under $50 for 22 CDs all conducted by Igor himself, so, I felt it worth having in the collection. The recordings themselves are old but quite excellent. I did not hear any hiss or record scratch, the stereophonic components came through quite clear, and the sound was very forward. I turned out that I was able to connect with these performances unlike any other that I’ve heard of Mr. Stravinsky. True, some of his pieces were quite odd or wierd. The Wedding  is a very unique piece which tends to grow on you the more you listen to it. It sounds a bit like oriental music, which is somewhat characteristic of a lot of Stravinsky works. His chamber music was completely delightful. The sacred music was mostly enjoyable, though some of it included spoken narrative, not exactly designed for casual listening. The Opera Rakes’ Progress had a very strong “Gilbert & Sullivan” touch to it; it happens that I really can’t stand Gilbert & Sullivan, so I didn’t like that piece. The Lamentations of Jeremiah were quite ingenious though different from anything I’ve heard before. Stravinsky creates some sonorities that tend to work well in that piece. All in all, this is a very affordable set for someone looking beyond Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

 

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