The Rite of Spring
The Poem of Ecstasy
Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev Conductor
Review by Wayne Donnelly
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CD Stock Number: Philips 289 468 035-2
Valery Gergiev's Rite of Spring is the most subtly perceptive, sensuous, rhythmically vital interpretation I can remember, live or recorded. Gergiev has long been Music Director of St. Petersburg's Kirov Ballet and Opera, and his theatrical flair is evident throughout this
tour de force.
There must be something in the St. Petersburg water that produces great musicians. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic has long ranked among the world's greatest orchestras, and as this CD confirms, Gergiev's Kirov musicians have reached the same elite level. Their virtuosity is essential to the realization of Gergiev's conception; the eloquent woodwinds, searing brass and voluptuous strings, the flawless ensemble, remain riveting after numerous plays.
I just as Stravinsky pointed the way for 20th century, Scriabin's music signals the end of an era of mystical, chromatic
post-Wagnerian romanticism. The Poem of Ecstasy makes a good introduction to Scriabin's orchestral style: just 20 minutes long and relatively easy to follow. I doubt you will find a better performance than this one.
The warm and resonant sound, recorded with tube equipment, does justice to Stravinsky's orchestral color and potent dynamics. The sound is better than the norm for the PolyGram labels. And even if the sound were not this good, the uniqueness of this
Rite of Spring demands attention.