Yuri Temirkanov / St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Ravel: Mother Goose; La Valse; Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

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Some listeners may seek out this Signum Classics album primarily for Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, but the best reason to hear it is for the performances of Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose and La Valse. Yuri Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra deliver atmospheric and delicate renditions of the five children's pieces in Mother Goose, as well as a vigorous and frenzied La Valse, and they are well-recorded performances, though their presence on this disc seems to have been an afterthought, as a match-up for the Stravinsky. Notwithstanding La Valse's violence in its final measures, Ravel's delightful music is an odd choice for filler, especially for an uneven concert performance of the Rite. Temirkanov and St. Petersburg face considerable competition with numerous recordings of this ballet on the market, and to say that their playing is on the same level as the greatest recordings (many of which have been reissued for the 2013 celebration of the Rite's centennial), is going too far. There are quite a few inaccuracies and some intonation problems that stick out, and the tempos are a bit slower than they should be, especially in Part I. However, the playing in Part II compensates by being much tighter and more aggressive, especially from the Glorification of the Chosen One through the Sacrificial Dance, and the musicians are focused on the changing rhythms and the savagery of their attacks. Signum's reproduction is a little lacking in depth and resonance, but the orchestra's sound is sharp and crisp.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Mother Goose, 5 children's pieces
1 1:38
2 3:37
3 3:31
4 4:17
5 3:37
6 12:36
The Rite of Spring
7 3:40
8 3:29
9 1:24
10 3:48
11 1:55
12 0:43
13 1:41
14 4:08
15 3:15
16 1:34
17 0:53
18 3:08
19 5:07
blue highlight denotes track pick