Franz Welser-Möst

Igor Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex; The Firebird

  • AllMusic Rating
    5
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Most classical record companies' basic plan for conductors seems to run something like this: hire them young, record them frequently, and reissue them often. This, at any rate, appears to have been EMI's plan for Franz Welser-Möst, the young Austrian violinist-turned-conductor. When he was appointed music director of the London Philharmonic in 1990, EMI hired the 29-year-old conductor for a series of recordings that eventually included this 1992 recording of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and 1993 recording of the same composer's Firebird ballet and Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Coupled here as a two-disc set in 2008, these recordings prove as controversial now as they were then. Though the recording of Stravinsky's oratorio boasts a star-studded cast featuring Marjana Lipovsek, John Tomlinson, Alastair Miles, John Mark Ainsley, and the masterful Anthony Rolfe Johnson in the title role, it lacks both drama and cogency. Certainly, Welser-Möst pumps up the big moments, but these remain isolated incidents rather than parts of an integrated whole. Worse yet is Welser-Möst's Firebird and Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which, with their gaudy colors, thick textures, and lurching tempo changes sound distinctly unlike the actual works. Recorded in clean, cool digital sound, these recordings may please fans of the conductor who missed them the first time, but they are unlikely to make him many new fans.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
L' oiseau de feu (The Firebird), ballet in 2 scenes for orchestra
1
2:43
2
2:05
3
2:22
4
1:23
5
0:47
6
5:55
7
2:36
8
2:23
9
1:20
10
4:31
11
1:30
12
0:05
13
1:25
14
1:15
15
1:09
16
0:53
17
0:31
18
0:45
19
4:34
20
2:47
21
1:01
22
0:10
23
1:00
24
2:58
25
9:10
blue highlight denotes track pick