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Friday, August 4, 2017

Igor Stravinsky - Three Greek Ballets (Robert Craft)


Composer: Igor Stravinsky
  • (01-10) Apollo
  • (11-26) Agon
  • (27-39) Orpheus

London Symphony Orchestra (1-10, 27-39)
Orchestra of St. Luke's (11-26)
Robert Craft, conductor

Date: 1992, 1995
Label: Naxos




I can't think of another conductor I would rather hear in this music than Robert Craft, not just because he is more respectful of the text than just about anyone else, but because he has the confidence and integrity to respect the music's understated idiom--to suggest rather than announce--as well as a keen understanding of the rhythmic element that underpins it all. This last factor is particularly critical in Apollo, music whose extreme stylization can become a caricature if taken too slowly or denied the necessary lightness and grace. Craft's supple leadership keeps the piece moving along smartly, with a firm lyrical line threading through the acres of ornament. In Agon, his careful observance of dynamics ensures that the difficult-to-capture licks for harp and mandoline register with complete naturalness and clarity. Orpheus, one of Stravinsky's most striking and luminous pieces, has a cool beauty that Craft realizes particularly well, again by taking care over matters of phrasing and balance. I could be very specific as to the scores, but suffice it to say that just about every page contains relevant examples of what I am describing. More importantly, with excellent playing and sonics, all at a budget price, if you want this music you can't do better. [5/27/2005]

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****


Igor Stravinsky (17 June [O.S. 5 June] 1882 – 6 April 1971) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. His output is typically divided into three general style periods: a Russian period, a neoclassical period, and a serial period.


Robert Craft (October 20, 1923 – November 10, 2015) was an American conductor and writer. Craft was born in Kingston, New York and studied music at the Juilliard School. He is best known for his intimate working friendship with Igor Stravinsky, on which Craft drew in producing numerous recordings and books. Craft was an award-winning conductor who was the first American to conduct Alban Berg's Wozzeck and Lulu. Besides recording virtually all of Stravinsky's music, Craft conducted pioneering recordings of Schoenberg, Varèse, Webern and other works of then contemporary composers.


FLAC, tracks
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