On March 5, 1990, Pierre Boulez conducted the Moscow Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in three essential 20th century works: Igor Stravinsky's Petrushka, Anton Webern's Six Pieces for orchestra, and Claude Debussy's La Mer. This 2014 Melodiya release presents the concert with focused sound and clear details, though the orchestra's playing isn't meticulous or clean, and the music comes off a little harsh and abrasive in the close-up recording. These are ambitious works for any student orchestra to approach, and this recording should be judged on that basis, notwithstanding the presence of Boulez or the historical significance of the performance. It's doubtful that Boulez had much time to rehearse the musicians, and the scrappiness of the playing suggests that there was little room for interpretation. This CD is a bit of a curiosity that Boulez specialists might find interesting to analyze, but because he made superior recordings of all three works with world-class orchestras, notably those with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, they are preferable to this album.
Pierre Boulez in Moscow
Pierre Boulez in Moscow Review
by Blair Sanderson
|Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6|