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Classical Music

Stravinsky


The 25 Thunderous Classics

The 25 Thunderous Classics Lowest new price: $1.89
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A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition)

A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition) Lowest new price: $8.97
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A-Z of Classical Music is a remarkable 932-page, illustrated book, detailing the lives of all the great composers as well as many less known, but equally fascinating, musical masters. Like the Naxos range of recordings itself, A-Z of Classical Music is a rich source of inspiration for anyone either just embarking on a lifetime of musical enjoyment or for whom classical music has long been a way of life. Included within is an extensive glossary of musical terms plus a unique guide to classical music used in acclaimed films. Two-and-a-half hours of the finest music from across the centuries are contained on the accompanying CDs.

Is it a two-CD set with a particularly thick booklet, or a 562-page book with a compilation album attached? Either way, the unpretentious text by Keith Anderson offers an introduction to the lives and works of dozens of composers, together with recommended recordings from the Naxos and Marco Polo catalogs. Anderson includes a useful 59-page glossary of musical terms and an extensive listing of classical pieces used in films. The odd thing about the 36 extracts and complete pieces on the CDs is that they do not form an A-to-Z at all. Rather, they are arranged chronologically, from 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant to the opening movement of contemporary composer Philip Glass's Violin Concerto. Between these two points is the early music of Palestrina and Byrd; the Baroque glories of Vivaldi and Bach; the 19th-century Romantic masters, from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky; and such 20th-century greats as Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Opera, song, and chamber music are barely represented, but only so much can fit into 151 minutes. Essentially a deluxe sampler of the vast Naxos catalogue, the discs offer a good introduction to some of the most famous and melodic music ever composed, while the book will be very useful to newcomers to the potentially confusing world of classical music. --Gary S. Dalkin

Features:

  • Record Label: Naxos
  • Catalog#: 8555319-20F
  • Year Of Release: 2001

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Works of Igor Stravinsky

Works of Igor Stravinsky Lowest new price: $28.39
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2007 issue of 22 CD's filled with the works of the great composer drawn from the vaults of Columbia Records.

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Scheherazade / Song of the Nightingale

Scheherazade / Song of the Nightingale Lowest new price: $7.01
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This is a classic recording of these two works, led with grand authority by Fritz Reiner. The Chicago's brass and wind section play gloriously throughout, and the final movement of Scheherazade (we learn from the original producer [1960] in an accompanying essay) was recorded in one take--an almost unheard-of feat. This fast movement is taken at breakneck speed, with no loss of clarity or power, with the strings in the hands of magicians. Stravinsky's Nightingale has never sounded so exotic, so bristling over with color, since this 1956(!) recording under Reiner, and the wonderful surprise with this new release of old material is the revamped sound: the original "Living Stereo" was a fantastic breakthrough in recording, and this new SACD format has returned the spatial relationships to something so "real" that it comes as close as I've ever heard to a true concert hall experience. Simply glorious. --Robert Levine

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Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Petrushka / Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Petrushka / Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) Lowest new price: $6.06
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Whatever the limitations of Stravinsky's baton technique, no one else on disc conjures the same bustling excitement at the outset of Petrouchka. Overlapping, polyrhythmic textures in Petrouchka and in Le Sacre du Printemps come off with Mozartian lucidity, Mendelssonian lightness, and, well, Stravinsky-esque rhythmic exactitude (notwithstanding a few hesitant entrances). The clarity partly stems from the composer's use of his leaner revised scores, helped by close-up, analytical mike work by CBS. There are, of course, slicker, more sonically opulent versions of these 20th century landmarks. And then there are Stravinsky's. --Jed Distler

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Stravinsky: L'Oiseau de Feu; Feu d'artifice; Quatre Etudes pour orchestre

Stravinsky: L'Oiseau de Feu; Feu d'artifice; Quatre Etudes pour orchestre Lowest new price: $6.68
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Stravinsky: L'Oiseau de Feu; Feu d'artifice; Quatre Etudes pour orchestre by Chicago Symphony Orchestra [Orchestra], Pierre Boulez [Conductor]

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Stravinsky did three orchestral versions of his famous ballet, The Firebird (1910). The two that are mostly played today are a shorter version arranged in 1945, which is about 30 minutes long, and the original ballet suite, which is more than 45 minutes long. This is that version. The extended repeats and transitional material, in the right hands, give the whole work a decidedly spectral character. This, Boulez does expertly. (And the CSO has never sounded so...light on its feet.) Also here is the early Fireworks, where you can almost hear The Firebird approaching. The Four Etudes for Orchestra finish the disc like a snifter of brandy. --Paul Cook

Features:

  • Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Catalog#: 4378502
  • Country Of Release: NLD
  • Year Of Release: 1993
  • Notes: Cso; Boulez

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Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring) / The Firebird / Jeu de cartes / Petrouchka / Pulcinella

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring) / The Firebird / Jeu de cartes / Petrouchka / Pulcinella Lowest new price: $9.98
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This is an excellent Stravinsky collection on all counts. Claudio Abbado's recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra represent the high-water mark of his career, and DG captured the partnership in generally fine sound. This recording of the complete Pulcinella, with the songs included, set an entirely new standard for the work, and its excellence has worn very well in the couple of decades since its initial release. The performance of Jeu de Cartes (Card Game) also should win many new friends for this entertaining late work. As to the Big Three ballets, all of them were among the most recommendable versions when they first came out, and they still are. --David Hurwitz

Features:

  • Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Country Of Release: EU
  • Year Of Release: 1997
  • Notes: Lso/Abbado

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; The Firebird Suite (1919) / Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Op. 20

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; The Firebird Suite (1919) / Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Op. 20 Lowest new price: $7.01
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Considering that Stravinsky's Rite of Spring has been around for nearly a century, it's surprising that even today, conductors literally get lost while attempting to beat through it--and that goes for some of the biggest names. Difficult as the piece is, conductors have no excuse for major lapses, now that this recording is available for study. Bernstein not only keeps complete control of the complex rhythms and constantly-switching meters throughout the work but he also interprets it with fire and sweep and emotional versatility. The Firebird is equally breathtaking. It's priceless, too, for the fabulous horn solo played by the New York Philharmonic's legendary James Chambers. --Gwendolyn Freed

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Flute for Relaxation

Flute for Relaxation Lowest new price: $4.03
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Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in C; Symphony in Three Movements

Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in C; Symphony in Three Movements Lowest new price: $3.44
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Stravinsky was seldom the best conductor of his own music, but this disc of his three symphonies is an exception. In the first place, none of them are all that difficult to conduct--at least compared to some of his earlier works--and he seems to have been in particularly good form throughout these recording sessions. He gets a particularly enthusiastic response from his Canadian forces in the Symphony of Psalms--one of this century's great choral masterworks, and seems to really enjoy the neo-classical elegance of the Symphony in C. Of all of the individual releases from Sony's complete Stravinsky edition, this one has pride of place. --David Hurwitz

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