Stravinsky: Firebird Rimksy - Korsakov: Le Coq
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Audio CD, Import, 30 November 2018
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- Product Dimensions : 15.19 x 13.92 x 1.02 cm; 104.33 Grams
- Manufacturer : Onyx Classics
- Manufacturer reference : unknown
- Original Release Date : 2018
- Label : Onyx Classics
- ASIN : B07HGKPG7D
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Frequently bought together
Stravinsky: Firebird; Rimsky-Korsakov: Le Coq d'Or - After their critically acclaimed recording of The Rite of Spring, the award-winning team of Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continue their survey of the Stravinsky ballets with The Firebird. Stravinsky was Rimsky-Korsakov's star pupil, and his influence on can be detected clearly in this opulent and exciting score. It is coupled with Rimsky-Korsakov's Golden Cockerel suite, which was arranged from the music of his 1909 opera based on a story by Pushkin.
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This is arguably the best orchestral ensemble playing I have ever heard - each instrument absolutely its own character, and yet fitting in and around the other instruments of the orchestra and the orchestral texture in general like a murmuration of starlings.
From an engineering point of view, the recording is quite well done, but I have two issues. The first is a higher-than-normal loudness to the recording; my typical pre-amp setting was way too loud for comfort, and a quick check of mastering levels show that this recording pushes the loudness quite a bit, which can usually mean either distortion or reduced effective dynamic range. The other issue is the lack of deep bass; the drum thwacks (an integral part of Firebird, for sure) are simply not visceral. There's bass content, but it doesn't extend down deep, as it does in, say, the recording of Firebird by LSO and Gergiev (which is my current reference Firebird). I am a little surprised Onyx' engineers made these two choices.
As for the interpretations, both are good. The Golden Cockerel is lively and exciting, and while this isn't a work I know very well, I was impressed with the interpretations. The Firebird is also good, with some interesting tempo choices that often worked well, but it just lacked a certain edginess and excitement that I want from this piece. Comparing to other recordings, it's as good as or better (in some cases considerably better) than other CDs of the work in my collection, but it just doesn't unseat the Gergiev from top spot. While the Gergiev is a live recording, and that imposes its own issues with coughs and so on, there's an excitement and drive from the Gergiev lacking from Petrenko. Maybe that is a combination of a studio recording and not pushing too hard, but when it comes to Firebird, it's all about the goosebumps this work imposes on me every time I listen carefully. I get goosebumps with Gergiev. I don't with Petrenko, alas.