Robert Craft

Stravinsky: Symphony in C; Symphony in Three Movements; Octet for Winds; Dumbarton Oaks

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One of the greater successes in Robert Craft's series of Naxos re-releases of his MusicMaster and Koch Stravinsky recordings is this 2009 disc joining the Symphony in C and the Symphony in Three Movements, with his frisky recording of the Octet for Wind Instruments with the Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble and his propulsive recording of the "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto. Both symphonies are brilliantly played, masterfully conducted, and wholly convincing as essays in the grand tradition with an assured swagger that suits their compositional virtuosity. The "Dumbarton Oaks" is bright and bouncy with a sly wit and a driving beat. But best of all is the performance of the Octet. It's smart, it's sassy, and the way Craft and his eight players dance with the rhythm, it's just about jazzy. Anyone who enjoys these works who isn't already familiar with these performances owes it to themselves to try this disc. Amazingly, the sound on this Naxos disc somehow seems smoother and cooler, but no less vivid than the sound on the MusicMaster and Koch discs.

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