In the middle years of the 20th century, the "go-to" conductor for Stravinsky's Le sacre du Printemps was Igor Markevitch. In fact, EMI went to him twice for that epoch-making work, once in 1951 in monaural, and then again in 1959 in stereo, both times with the Philharmonia, and both performances are currently available on a single Testament disc. This 2010 Audite disc presents Markevitch working with the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester live and on the air in 1952, and the results are incendiary. The German radio symphony is not quite as polished as its English counterpart, but is much further under the skin of the music. And more importantly, Markevitch seems more inspired by the live circumstances, and his performance here is more vital and more violent than his studio recordings. Audite has coupled Markevitch's performance of Le sacre with his 1952 live performances of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, suite No. 2, ballet and Honegger's Symphony No. 5, both also with the RIAS-Symphonie, and both as impressive as Le sacre. Though listeners unfamiliar with these scores might be better served technically and sonically by more recent recordings, listeners unafraid of raw playing and rough sound are in for a real thrill.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Daphnis et Chloé, Suite for Orchestra No. 2|
|Le Sacre du Printemps|
|Symphony No. 5 in D major, "Di Tre Re"|