Three famous and famous-sounding Ballets by Stravinsky, all conducted by Antal Dorati and packaged together here by Speakers Corner. This extensive 180g Import 3 LP Box Set also includes a slip case and deluxe 12 page booklet.
Stravinsky Ballets Dorati Included Works:
Mercury SR90216 Stravinsky: Petrouchka/Dorati/The Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Petrushka was born of Stravinsky’s vision of a long-haired musician hammering indiscriminately at the piano keys and engaging in a furious contest with the orchestra answering with vehement protests and acoustic fisticuffs. As was the case with The Rite of Spring and The Firebird, Sergei Diaghilev and his Russian ballet had their share in ensuring that the “burlesque” in the four scenes would be suitable for the stage.
The clown-doll Petrushka revels in his spiteful teasing and pranks at the Shrovetide fair. The orchestra contributes swirling dance figures, blaring brass and scurrying strings to his high-spirited clownery but then the Moor enters and dances with the Ballerina, arousing jealousy in Petrushka. Although the clown-doll does not survive this bitter-sweet story, he triumphs at the end, his ghost mocking the crowd at the fair.
This highly inventive music combines folksong, popular music and the waltz, all bounded together by exhilating rhythms which are often taken to thunderous extremes. With its outstanding sound, this recording is a must-have in any Stravinsky collection.
Mercury SR90226 Stravinsky: The Firebird/Dorati/The London Symphony Orchestra. The Firebird can almost be described as a work of fate, since it is not only the first of several ballets that Stravinsky wrote for Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes but also marks his international breakthrough as a composer. In comparison with his other earlier stage works, the ecstatic, sharply contoured Rite of Spring for example, The Firebird, with its melodic character, is a far gentler work altogether. There are unmistakable reminiscences of the musical language of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky as well as snatches of late-Romantic harmonies; all this lends the music the charm of the Russian tradition.
In his performance, Dorati chooses the golden mean in that he has his ensemble produce a highly colorful but by no means glaring sound. Thus the listener is given the opportunity to follow the development of the finely chiselled motifs which are so characteristic of this early composition. Happily, the chamber-music-like transparency is preserved even in the loud, more exposed passages and the sound leaves the loudspeakers with a sprightly, athletic tread.
Mercury SR90253 Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring/Dorati/The Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. While he was finishing the score of The Firebird, the idea came to Stravinsky for a pagan, ritual scenario. The background history of Le Sacre du printemps is well known: while the modernists praised the work, the conservative public thought they were being hoaxed. The reason for their irritation and the scandalous fiasco of the premiere is still audible to this day. Stravinsky carries the aggressive, hammering rhythms to the extreme, casting them in atonal harmonies which feed on the alternation between a red-hot and a mild mixture, as Stravinsky put it.
Dorati urges on his ensemble with robust tempi, and the orchestra is quick to respond to all the refinements of the tightly knit movement. It appears to cope effortlessly with the extremes of contrast and manages to amalgamate the rhythmic excesses with the tenderness of the numerous tiny motifs and figures which seem to sprout like flowers out of hard rock. The excellent recording technique captures both the extreme loudness and the finely pulsating tones, resulting in a sound in which no detail goes unheard. The listener can be sure that this Stravinsky deserves the rating excellent both for the interpretation and for the sound.
Format: 3LPs 33rpm / slipcase, booklet
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky“), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects – excluding the exception above – and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.