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CD Review

Igor Stravinsky

Sony 46915

The Rite of Spring

  • Centennial Re-Mastering
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
Sony Classical 8765-46915-2 34m
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This is the performance originally issued on Columbia MS 6010. The new release, on the 100th anniversary of the work's 1913 premiere in Paris is a 24-bit, 96kHz re-mastering of John McClure's original analog edited master. For those who might be interested, the unidentified engineer reported that he "used a combination of a modified machine alignment and an EAR 825 EQ and an HDCD Model 2 for conversion." Whoever did it deserves to be congratulated – and should have been credited.

The results are a spectacular sonic improvement of an already spectacular performance, surely one of the best and most exciting ever, in comparison with which some others may sound almost dull. In both sound and performance this release is preferable to Bernstein's 1972 London Symphony Orchestra performance on Sony SMK60694. The full primitive savagery of this unique work is brought out. Just to mention one sound improvement, the timpani are heard clearly and cleanly, as they would be in a good hall. Anyone who liked the original recording will love this.

With respect to incidentals, the original LP cover is reproduced here. In addition, part of the program for the May 29 premiere, photos of Stravinsky with Nijinsky, Stravinsky with Bernstein and Bernstein at the podium are provide. A booklet entitled Bernstein's Le Sacre, Evocation and Revelation, by Jonathan Cott, is included, with more photos and artwork, as well as the New York Philharmonic roster from the 1957-1858 season.

Copyright © 2013, R. James Tobin

Trumpet