Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stravinsky: Petrushka; The Firebird; The Rite of Spring; Orpheus

George Grella

By George Grella

on 09.01.11 in Reviews

Stravinsky: Petrushka; The Firebird; The Rite of Spring; Orpheus

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

A collection of the most famous, perhaps greatest music from the last great composer, Igor Stravinsky, along with a far lesser-known work that is an absolute masterpiece. The three early ballets for Serge Diaghilev and Les Ballets Russes, The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, set the world on its collective ear, put the last nail in the coffin of Romanticism and opened up the still-new 20th century to endless newness, all of it owed to these pieces, especially the Rite. The dazzling colors, propulsive rhythms and crushing climaxes of the music have demolished the boundary between avant-garde art and popular audience, and continue to thrill listeners. Stravinsky continued to write music for dance and his collaboration with Georges Balanchine produced some of the greatest works of music and ballet ever known. Orpheus is one of the three ballets the two made on Greek themes, and is one of the most delicate, crystalline and beautiful scores Stravinsky wrote. It narrates the tale of the tragic, mythical musician in hushed, controlled string tones, compellingly cool surfaces and a deliberately understated focus. Sir Colin Davis and the Concertgebouw Orchestra play the music with beauty, lyricism and power in this great set.