To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, Sony has released this album by Daniele Gatti and the Orchestre National de France, which pairs that revolutionary masterpiece with the 1911 ballet Pétrouchka (though the 1947 revised versions of both scores are used). Gatti is a meticulous conductor who takes great care to present the music with absolute clarity and bold highlights, and the performances have crisp details, ideal separation of parts, and realistic dimensions that are almost of audiophile quality. A consequence of this perfectionism is a tendency toward steady, deliberate motion, and Gatti's tempos are a little slower than one usually hears, particularly in Pétrouchka. However, the pacing in this performance works because there's little need for urgency until Scene 4, where Gatti picks up the beat considerably. The timing issues of Le Sacre du printemps are trickier because in many places the music requires high speed to communicate frenzy and violence, and Gatti has to balance the need for precision against propulsion. The result is a focused, if somewhat studied, performance that has moments of great excitement, notably at the concluding sections of Part I and Part II. But the lack of volatility and risk-taking overall makes it less than hair-raising. Still, this is a worthwhile performance that bears comparison to other centennial releases of Le Sacre du printemps and should be heard at least once.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pétrouchka (revised 1947 version)|
|Le sacre du printemps (revised 1947 version)|
Part 1. L'Adoration de la terre (Adoration of the Earth). Les Augures printaniers - Danses des adolescentes (The Augurs of Spring)
Part 1. L'Adoration de la terre (Adoration of the Earth). Jeux des cités rivales (Games of the Rival Tribes)
Part 2. Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice). Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls)