Igor Stravinsky's ballet Pulcinella and Richard Strauss' incidental music for Der Bürger als Edelmann (Le bourgeois gentilhomme) were both composed in 1920, and each work featured adaptations of early music (melodies by Pergolesi and other composers were used in the former, and borrowings from Lully in the latter), so it was a great idea to pair the suites on this CD from Dux. There are, of course, reminders that these are modern pastiches, for Stravinsky applied his characteristic mix of tangy dissonances and quirky metric changes to the Rococo tunes he used, and Strauss fashioned a quasi-Baroque idiom, employing consort-like textures and courtly dance styles to approximate a period mood. The pieces are evenly matched, and Jacek Kaspszyk and the Wroclaw Philharmonic treat them similarly, playing the music with grace and gentle wit, but also including a healthy amount of brusque humor. One might wish that the tempos were a little faster, for Kaspszyk takes them a bit too moderately, but because he emphasizes the music's piquant colors and spicy harmonies, particularly in Pulcinella, the easy-going pace isn't without its benefits. The sound of the recordings is clear and well-balanced, but the wide dynamic range means that the softest section, "Auftritt des Cleonte in Der Bürger als Edelmann," might require a volume adjustment to be heard clearly.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|The Pulcinella Suite|
|Suite for Orchestra, Op. 60 'The Bourgeois Gentleman'|