Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure, Josep Pons, Stravinsky: Pulcinella

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A neo-classical ballet suite in which each member of the orchestra gets a chance to shine.

Stravinsky's neo-classical "Pulcinella" ballet suite, based on themes collected by Serge Diaghilev in Italy (and presumed to be by Pergolesi), is one of my favorite Stravinsky scores. There's such a profusion of rhythmic invention that, coupled with the amazing range of instrumental combinations, leaves one speechless at the Russian master's musical imagination. Josep Pons and his dynamic Spanish orchestra clearly love the piece, too; the individual players each relishing their moment of glory as Stravinsky generously gives everyone a chance to shine. (There's even a hilarious outing for double-bass, lumbering around like a dancing elephant.) Still in the neo-classical vein, the coupled "Dumbarton Oaks" is Stravinsky's tribute to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos — diamond-cut, spiky textures that positively bubble with life. The two suites are similarly enchanting, as bracing as a mountain stream, and again these Spanish players are in top form.