Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; works by Debussy and Rachmaninov (CD)

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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Spring has inspired composers through the centuries, sometimes explicitly in such works as Vivaldi’s so-named concerto in The Four Seasons, or symbolically as in Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

The three works on this album, composed within a 30-year period, were each created in very different circumstances, yet all have in common the theme of how mankind relates to the phenomenon of spring.

Stravinsky’s iconic and revolutionary 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring depicts Russian pagan tribes celebrating the emergence of Spring with frenzied dances and ritual sacrifice. The music has a rhythmic complexity and violence that caused a riot to break out at its premier in Paris.

Rachmaninov’s Spring Cantata tells the story of a husband who has struggled through the harsh Russian winter knowing his wife has been having an affair with a younger man. He swears he will kill them, but on seeing the wonder of spring all around him, relents and forgives them both.

Debussy’s early ‘Printemps’ of 1885 was said to have been inspired by Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’. Debussy was staying at the Villa Medici in Rome when he wrote this colourful and joyous work.

Vasily Petrenko has established himself as one of the most exciting conductors in the world today, especially in the repertoire of his native Russia. His series of Shostakovich's symphonies on Naxos is absolutely outstanding, while on the Onyx label his interpretations of Tchaikovsky's symphonies, and of both Tchaikovsky's and Prokofiev's piano concertos, are high-water marks for these works' interpretations in the 21st century.

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CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
1. Très modéré 10.17
2. Modéré 6.00

3 Vesna op.20* 16.04

Le Sacre du printemps
I: L’Adoration de la terre (Adoration of the Earth)
4 Introduction
5 Les Augures printaniers (The Augurs of Spring) 3.02

6 Jeu du rapt (Ritual of Abduction) 1.15
7 Rondes printanières (Spring Rounds) 4.05

8 Jeux des cités rivales (Ritual of the Rival tribes) 1.49
9 Cortège du sage: Le Sage (Procession of The Sage) 0.40

10 Le Sage (The Sage) 0.20
11 Danse de la terre (Dance of the Earth) 1.17

II: Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)
12 Introduction 4.46
13 Cercles mystérieux des adolescente (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls) 3.23
14 Glorification de l’élue (Glorification of the Chosen One) 1.28
15 Évocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the Ancestors) 0.40
16 Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual dance of the Ancestors) 3.43
17 Danse sacrale (L’Élue) Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) 4.27

Total timing: 66.53

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