Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood

Les Ballets Russes, Vol. 6

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Finding Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and Maurice Ravel side-by-side on a CD is a little unusual, but it shouldn't be surprising if it's Volume 6 in Haenssler's diverse series Diaghilev--Les Ballets Russes. Considering that Stravinsky's Pulcinella and Feu d'artifice, and Strauss' Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche were staged as ballets by Sergei Diaghilev, and that Ravel's La Valse was planned for performance with Pulcinella but ultimately rejected by the impresario, all these works share the dance impulse, as well as a connection with the early 20th century's most influential modern dance company. Yet a problem with this series is the variability of performances, and listeners are not always treated to the most desirable recordings. The SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg performs with distinction in all four works, though Christopher Hogwood presents Pulcinella and Sylvain Cambreling offers readings of Feu d'artifice, Till Eulenspiegel, and La Valse that make this disc feel a little uneven and difficult to absorb in one sitting. Stylistically, this is to be expected, for each work comes from a different musical tradition, whether Italian, Russian, German, or French, and represents an aspect of late Romantic or modern music that is to some extent at odds with the others. But while Hogwood's performance of Pulcinella is mostly bright, crisp, and uptempo, befitting its neo-classical style, it sometimes hits pockets of sluggishness and dullness. Furthermore, Cambreling's renditions are in softer focus, suggestive of quasi-impressionist interpretations, and tend toward a more homogenous orchestral blend, which is blurred somewhat in the highly resonant ambient acoustic. Fans of the Ballets Russes' extraordinary history will find this disc enlightening and will likely collect the entire series, but anyone who wants just one piece above the rest is advised to seek out other recordings of these popular works.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Pulcinella, ballet with three solo voices after Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
1 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:45 Amazon
2 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 03:23 Amazon
3 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 06:01 Amazon
4 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:56 Amazon
5 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:05 Amazon
6 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:13 Amazon
7 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:32 Amazon
8 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 00:29 Amazon
9 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 00:36 Amazon
10 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:43 Amazon
11 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:08 Amazon
12 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:19 Amazon
13 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:37 Amazon
14 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 00:57 Amazon
15 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 04:03 Amazon
16 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 01:31 Amazon
17 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:06 Amazon
18 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 02:21 Amazon
19 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 04:19 Amazon
20 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 14:09 Amazon
21 Sylvain Cambreling / Christopher Hogwood 13:31 Amazon
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