Not only does PentaTone produce some of the finest audiophile recordings of contemporary orchestral and operatic performances, it also reissues quadraphonic recordings from the 1970s in its Remastered Classics series. An excellent example of state-of-the-art recording in 1972 is this pair of Stravinsky masterpieces, performed by Michael Tilson Thomas and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in its then-new quadraphonic format. Le Roi des Étoiles (Zvezdóliki), a short cantata for men's choir and large orchestra, is rarely performed because its massive forces, complexity, and brevity make it impractical. Yet it is an impressive piece, considered by Stravinsky to be "my 'most radical' and difficult composition," and described by Debussy, its dedicatee, as depicting "the harmony of the eternal spheres." Tilson Thomas' bracing rendition of Le Sacre du printemps can be regarded as a tribute to the composer, with whom he had worked closely before his death in 1971. Few performances of this dynamic ballet match this one for instrumental brilliance, sonic intensity, and visceral impact, and the quadraphonic recording gives it a clear separation of parts that highlights many essential details. These recordings were previously reissued on CD by Deutsche Grammophon in its Collection du Millénaire, but PentaTone's hybrid SACD finally does justice to both performances, and reveals the extraordinary qualities of these historic recordings.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Le Roi des Étoiles - The King of the Stars|
|Le Sacre du printemps - The Rite of Spring|