Various Artists

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps

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The landmark work of modernism in the 20th century is without doubt Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, and its first performance on May 29, 1913, provoked the most famous riot in classical music history. To mark the centennial of that scandalous premiere, Sony has reissued ten important Columbia and RCA recordings from the past in cardboard sleeves featuring the original cover artwork, all housed in a sturdy trimline box set. Included are legendary releases by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra (1930); Igor Stravinsky and the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York (1940); Pierre Monteux and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1951); Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra (1955); Igor Stravinsky and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (1960); Seiji Ozawa and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1968); Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra (1969); Leonard Bernstein and the London Symphony Orchestra (1972); Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra (1989); and Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (1999). Devotees of Le Sacre will be acquainted with some of these recordings, if not all, though the most historical recordings are of the greatest interest. On the whole, despite the differences of recording technology and variable sound quality, there is a consensus of interpretation that has developed over the century and each performance adds something important to the understanding of this hypnotic and viscerally exciting ballet. Highly recommended.

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