This live performance has a novel premise: it pairs The Rite of Spring with some pieces that led up to it. The big news is the Chant funèbre of 1908, lost (Stravinsky said he remembered it as one of his strongest early pieces and hoped someone would uncover it), rediscovered at the Moscow Conservatory, and given frequent performances in 2016 and 2017. This is the first recording. It's an adept, beautifully orchestrated, and heartfelt work (the funeral referred to was Rimsky-Korsakov's), but it makes even more sense when combined with the colorful Feu d'artifice Op. 4, the energetic Scherzo fantastique, Op. 3, and the vocal The Faun and the Shepherdess, Op. 2, which sees Stravinsky experimenting with primitive imagery. Each of these pieces contributed something to the mature phase of Stravinsky's career, and Chailly takes a little time at the opening of The Rite, as if to suggest that Stravinsky thought, "Oh, yeah, this is how you do it." The Rite of Spring itself has had wilder interpretations, but Chailly is working with a Lucerne Festival Orchestra he knows well, and the performance has both a swing and an edge. A nice find for Stravinsky lovers.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|The Le Faune et la Bergère, Op. 2|
|Le Sacre du printemps|