Released in 1996, this fine disc by Josep Pons and the Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure features Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, the two suites for chamber orchestra, and the Concerto in E flat major, "Dumbarton Oaks," all works suitably programmed for this vibrant group. Considering the engaging music, the vivacious performances, and Harmonia Mundi's transparent sound, the album is sure to please. Of course, listeners may favor one work over another, and that will affect the way this album is received: fans of Stravinsky's neo-Classical works will lean toward either Pulcinella, which has the freshness and tunefulness of the early phase, or the concerto, which dates from the middle period and is drier and more rigorous in its Bach-like counterpoint and rhythms. The suites are transitional works that bear some aspects of the Russian ballets, most notably Petrushka, as well as hints of the ensuing neo-Classicism, so some may enjoy them for a change of pace but not feel any need to understand their place in the grand scheme of Stravinsky's styles. Yet whatever piece appeals most, Pons and his ensemble give lively interpretations that are sure to please, and they deliver all three works with extraordinary clarity and precision.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pulcinella, suite for orchestra|
|Suite No. 1, for chamber orchestra|
|Suite No. 2, for chamber orchestra|
|Concerto for chamber orchestra in E flat major ("Dumbarton Oaks")|