Saturday, January 7, 2012

What next

It's time to order the next CD. But what next? Do I stick with Beethoven (there will be more of him in this collection), stick with the symphonic form, stick with the same musical era (classical: 1750 to 1830) or go for something completely different.

I want to be able to compare different styles, eras, forms and composers as I go along, so something different is needed.

The premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was literally a riot. Written between 1912 and 1913, so firmly rooted in the late romantic or early modern era, the piece was a radical departure from the usual Russian ballet music. When Stravinsky played through the score at the piano for the musical director of the Ballet Russes, Monteux thought him 'raving mad'. At the first night on 29 May 1913, early catcalls and booing quickly turned to fighting in the audience. Diaghilev tried to calm things down by switching the house lights on and off while the choreographer, Nijinski, shouted cues for the dancers, who could barely hear the orchestra over the din. Stravinsky walked out and eventually the police had to be called to close down the performance.

Valery Gergiev's recording with the Kirov Orchestra for Phillips (468 035-2PH) promises to be a fresh and lively approach to this remarkable piece. Amazon again offer excellent value at £7.49.

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