To mark his debut on Deutsche Grammophon with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin pays tribute to his legendary predecessor on the podium, Leopold Stokowski. The transcriptions of Bach's organ music are among Stokowski's most celebrated achievements, and none is more famous than his expansive arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which was prominently featured in Walt Disney's Fantasia. It's a classic showpiece for the orchestra, as are Stokowski's fulsome orchestrations of the "Little" Fugue in G minor, and the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. Somewhat less obvious is the choice of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, though Stokowski gave the work its American premiere and recorded it for RCA Victor in 1929 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, so its place on this program is justified. Not that Nézet-Séguin would present a slavish imitation of Stokowski's interpretation, because modern standards of performance are so much higher than when the work was still a novelty, and the Philadelphia Orchestra today is far more skilled in playing this piece. Nézet-Séguin's reading is much faster and sharper than Stokowski's, and the digital reproduction is far superior for depth, tone colors, and details. Indeed, this is one of the finest modern performances of Le Sacre on CD, and fans of the piece will find much to get excited about. To round out the disc, a performance of Stravinsky's Pastorale is offered as an encore. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) (Revised version)|
1. L'Adoration de la Terre (The Adoration of the Earth). Les Augures printaniers (Danses des adolescentes) (The Augurs of Spring (Dances of the Young Girls))
1. L'Adoration de la Terre (The Adoration of the Earth). Jeux des cités rivales (Games of the Rival Tribes)
1. L'Adoration de la Terre (The Adoration of the Earth). Adoration de la terre - Le Sage (Adoration of the Earth - The Sage)
2. Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice). Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls)