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STRAVINSKY, I.: Later Ballets (Craft) (Stravinsky, Vol. 9)

Composer(s):Stravinsky, Igor
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category BalletOrchestral
Catalogue 8.557506
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Commissioned by George Balanchine, Jeu de cartes is a prime example of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas emerging helter-skelter from Stravinsky’s imagination. Unlike his other ballets, it contains no slow music and no lovers’ pas-de-deux adagio. Danses concertantes was the first large-scale piece composed entirely in what was to be Stravinsky’s Hollywood home for the next 24 years. First performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Robert Craft, Variations are the densest music Stravinsky ever wrote, yet the ingenious rhythmic structures allow every note to be heard. Ezra Pound, in a balcony at the Teatro La Fenice for a September 1934 performance of the Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, wrote: “the piano and



Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

These performances originally appeared on the Kock International label and are well worth investigating at such an attractive price. The Jeu de cartes with the Philharmonia Orchestra is exhilarating and gives much pleasure. Probably the best thing on the disc is Scénes de Ballet, which has rarely been given with greater charm and wit. Very good sound.

Review By Greg Keane,Limelight Magazine,June 2008

No other musician was closer to Stravinsky than Robert Craft and he must be considered the doyen of today’s Stravinsky conductors. …The Orchestra of St Luke’s brings outs all the brittle charm and laconic glitter of Stravinsky’s neo-classical period and Mark Wait is a perfect soloist.

Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,February 2008

A great compilation of balletic masterpieces from Stravinsky's heyday in the 1930s, long after the riots generated by his Sacre du printemps. Stravinsky's standard-bearer Robert Craft conducts various orchestras in this collection. These are uniformly excellent performances, as is pianist Mark Wait's contribution in the quasi concerto 'Capriccio.' The audio quality overall is of the highest, superbly matched on the disc.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,December 2007

Continuing Robert Craft's complete recording of Stravinsky's orchestral works we have the ballets that followed the composer's series of highly provocative scores for Dyagilev and the Ballets Russes. We have now moved forward thirty years and more, and to the time of his association with the choreographer, George Balanchine, who was to commission Jeux de cartes, the story of a card game in three 'deals'. By now Stravinsky's scores had become lean in texture, and though the pungency was still there, the music had lost its ability to shock. Craft smooths out some of the more acerbic aspects of the score, concentrating on the wit in the music and in Balanchine's subsequent choreography. Six years later, and the first score completed in his new Hollywood home, came the Dances , as much intended for the concert hall as it was for the theatre. Its five sections scored for a chamber orchestra come from his neo-classicism era where atonality rubs shoulders with tonality, the scoring both taxing and exposed. Scenes de Ballet was completed in a great hurry to meet a commission for a Broadway score, some of the music in the seven short sections eventually defeating the pit orchestra, the entire ballet only fully realised in its London premiere with choreography by Frederick Ashton, that version taking the score into the ballet repertoire. Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra is a much earlier work from 1929 where atonality almost takes over, its presence on the disc coming from its later use by Balanchine for the ballet, Jewels. I suppose Naxos had to find a home in this cycle for the Variations, a score completed when Stravinsky was eighty-two, its premiere given by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Craft conducting. The recordings made through the 1990's have been released previously on various labels and feature a number of orchestras and recording locations. I particularly enjoyed the highly detailed and virtuoso account of the Dances concertantes from the New York based Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble; Mark Wait is the excellent soloist in the technically demanding Capriccio, and the London Philharmonic give the benchmark account of Variations. Though the Philharmonia Orchestra could with benefit have been brought forward in Jeu de cartes, the sound from such diverse sources is married together with little variation between tracks.



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