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  • Stravinsky: L'Oiseau De Feu, Le Sacre Du Printemps, Persephone
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Stravinsky: L'Oiseau De Feu, Le Sacre Du Printemps, Persephone Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, April 27, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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Here's a Stravinsky set to raise eyebrows. Where is Petrouchka, the standard coupling for Firebird and Rite in collections of the great early Stravinsky ballet scores? Instead, we get the too rarely heard Perséphone, and it's the highlight of the set. Premiered in 1934 to a text by André Gide, Perséphone is a retelling of the Greek fertility myth of the earth's winter death and spring renewal. The tale drew from Stravinsky some of his most delicate and beautiful music in the neoclassical style of the period, a sibling to the ballets Apollo and Orpheus and the cantata Oedipus Rex (it also includes string figures that recall those works).

Stephanie Cosserat, in the title role, is a youthfully persuasive narrator, very different from Vera Zorina's oracular reciter on Stravinsky's own recording. Stuart Neill's tenor is a big plus, and the orchestra and chorus play and sing with involvement. Michael Tilson Thomas brings out the cool tenderness of the score, and the recording, made at a live performance, is truthful. His Firebird is lushly dramatic, and the Rite's barbaric thrust is leavened by some soulful wind playing. Recorded competition in the two ballets is fierce (along with Gergiev's recent Firebird on Philips, there are classic versions by Ansermet, Dorati, Haitink, and others, including the composer) but Perséphone makes this set an attractive proposition. --Dan Davis


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): IntroductionMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Le jardin enchanté de Kastchei (The Enchanted Garden of Kashchei)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Apparation de l'oiseau de feu, poursuivi par Ivan Tsarévitch (Apparition of the Firebird, Followed by Ivan Tsarevitch)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Danse de l'oiseau de feu (Dance of the Firebird)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Capture de l'oiseau de feu par Ivan Tsarévitch (Capture of the Firebird by Ivan Tsarevitch)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony0:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Supplication de l'oiseau de feu, Apparation des treize princesses enchantées (Plea of the Firebird, Apparition of the Thirteen Enchanted Princesses)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 8:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Jeu des princesses avec les pommes d'or, Scherzo (Play of the Princesses with the Golden Apples, Scherzo)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Brusque apparation d'Ivan Tsarévitch (Sudden Apparition of Ivan Tsarevitch)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Chorovod - Ronde - des princesses (Chorovod - Round - of the Princesses)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 4:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Lever du jour, Ivan Tsarévitch pénètre dans le palais de Kastchei (Sunrise, Ivan Tsarevitch Penetrates the Palace of Kashchei)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Carillon féerique, Apparation des monstres, Gardeins de Kastchei et capture d'Ivan Tsarévitch (Magical Chimes, Apparition of the Monsters, Guards of Kashchei and CapturMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 5:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Danse de la suite de Kastchei enchantée par l'oiseau de feu (Dance of the Suite of Kashchei Enchanted by the Firebird)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony0:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Danse infernale de tous les sujets de Kastchei (Infernal Dance of all the Subjects of Kashchei)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony10:23Album Only
listen14. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird): Disparation du palais est des sortilèges de Kastchei, Animation des chevaliers petrifies, Allégresse générale (Disappearance of the Palace and of the Magic Spells of KaMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): IntroductionMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Les augures printaniers, Danses des adolescentes (The Augurs of Spring, Dances ofMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Jeu du rapt (Ritual of Abduction)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Rondes printanières (Spring Rounds)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Jeux des cités rivales (Ritual of the Rival Tribes)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Cortège du sage (Procession of the Sage)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony0:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Le sage (The Sage)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony0:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Première partie: L'adoration de la terre (Part I: Adoration of the Earth): Danse de la terre (Dance of the Earth)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): IntroductionMichael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 4:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): Cercles mysterieux des adolescentes (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): Glorification de l'élue (Glorification of the Chosen One)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 1:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): Evocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the Ancestors)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony0:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring): Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual Action of the Ancestors)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Seconde partie: Le sacrifice (Part II: The Sacrifice): Danse sacrale, L'élue (Sacrificial Dance, The Chosen One)Michael Tilson Thomas;San Francisco Symphony 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 3:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Perséphone: Perséphone ravie / The Abduction of PersephoneMichael Tilson Thomas 9:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Perséphone: Perséphone aux enfers / Persephone in the UnderworldMichael Tilson Thomas23:19Album Only
listen  3. Perséphone: Perséphone Renaissante / Persephone RebornMichael Tilson Thomas14:55Album Only

Product Details

  • Performer: Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony
  • Composer: Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (April 27, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: RCA Victor
  • ASIN: B00000IOCZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,252 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
65%
4 star
30%
3 star
0%
2 star
5%
1 star
0%
See all 20 customer reviews
This interpretation can easily be compared to many of the great recordings.
Hermes Camacho
Then to top it all off, Persephone is included in this set, probably one of the few recordings made of this work, and is also a good listen.
David Gottner
Personally, this is my favorite recording of the Rite of Spring and The Firebird.
Daniel Graser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I agree with most reviews I have read--MTT takes overall a lyrical view of all three works. Persephone benefits most from this. All works clearly exhibit MTT's ability to maintain a rock solid rhythmic pulse. Recordings are clear and well-focused. Since I collect all versions of these works, they were must acquisitions. Now that I've heard them, I'd put all three works near the tops of my "lists". Haitink's Firebird on Philips provides more shear wonder and beautiful phrasing. Zander's Rite is still very thrilling, though I recall a late 50's Monteux on RCA with the Orch. Paris Cons. that struck me at the time as nearly overwhelming. Igor Markevich's several recordings are similarly in a special class. So, MTT provides intiguing insights into the workings of the Rite's orchestration, but you won't whisper "wow" at its end. Persephone is, on the other hand, altogether wonderful.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The San Francisco Symphony has experienced a rebirth with Michael Tilson Thomas, and nowhere are the results more dramatically demonstrated than in this outstanding CD set. Whether Thomas's personal relationship with Stravinsky makes any difference in his readings is hard to say - someone should ask him - but the ballet warhorses come to life in this CD and Persephone is a revelation to those who, like me, had never heard it before. The sound quality of these CDs is also outstanding, particularly on a system that can handle a wide dynamic range and present a realistic illusion of the orchestra arrayed across the stage. Most large label recordings do not match the sound quality of this one. It deserved all of its Grammys, including the engineering award, as in this case the engineering serves the music and proves what a big label can do when it tries hard enough.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Gottner on May 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is the best recording of the Rite of Spring on CD ever! The engineering is top notch (much better than most recordings these days), which befits the Rite and the Firebird. As for the performance itself, the recording of the rite is excellent, with lots of contrast between the heavy percussive parts and the more lyrical passages. There are also some dramatic tempo changes in the work which are played out quite well. Overall, I prefer this Rite to the Bernstein recording.
The Firebird is acceptable. The finale is not as overpowering as the Gergiev recording, but the work is easier to listen to as a whole than the Gergiev version.
Then to top it all off, Persephone is included in this set, probably one of the few recordings made of this work, and is also a good listen.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hermes Camacho on October 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Probably one of the best recordings of Le Sacre du Printemps and L'Oiseau Feu and the best recording I've heard of Persophone, Michael Tilson Thomas and the brilliant San Francisco Symphony brings a refreshing new look to classic Stravinsky.
Persophone is an abosolute gem of a work. Rarely performed or heard on the radio, SFS took a chance in putting in on this CD in lieu of the often coupled Petroushka. The soloists are superb.
Le Sacre du Printemps is a challenge for any orchestra, but this group is able to make it seem easy yet full of life. This interpretation can easily be compared to many of the great recordings. The brass are clear and pristine, the strings lush and, when need be, brash, the ensemble playing, succinct.
I have always preferred the full ballet version of the Firebird over the suite for reasons of orchestration and a fuller effect on the lister. There is so much more life in the full ballet, which can be heard with MTT and the SFS. It is dramatic, lush, powerful, full of life, colorful, and eminates youthful exhuberence. The winds in this recording bring such vitality to their parts.
If there were any complaints I would have for the recording, it would be Bernstein's influence on MTT sprouting in the score, from a few fermatas held too long and rubato that didn't seem to work. Nevertheless, the energy that this group puts into the piece is phenomenal and breathtaking.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I agree that this is an absolutely wonderful set, however I think that the thing that makes it most special is Persephone. I have Gergiev's Firebird, and frankly, I think it is better (and I don't think that MTT's Firebird is easier to listen to--the oppisite, as a matter of fact). Admittedly, MTT's Rite of Spring is wonderful, but what is truly exceptional--and absolutely beautiful is Persephone. Also, although it does take more than one or two listenings to begin to fully appreciate Persphone, it does not necessarily take five years...more like a couple of months! And it doesn't hurt to read the following in the accompanying pamphlet (complete with Gide's poetic French text to Persphone, also translated into English, following): "Persephone is also the composer's love song to Vera de Bosset who became Vera Stravinsky in 1940: 'Whatever tenderness or beauty may be found in the music is my poor response to those qualities in her.' "
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Blue Hose Bone 311 on March 29, 2008
Format: Audio CD
As an orchestral trombonist, I looked a long time for the Rite of Spring recording to add to my collection. I finally settled on this one and "WOW!!" is all I can say. Tilson Thomas, while a very fine conductor, sometimes forgets about the emotion of a piece, that is, often I find his interpretations too smooth. Here, however, he allows the full savagery and fire of this music to come out - the brass searing,the strings raspy where necessary and the all important basson solo is smooth and gorgeous. I fully endorse the multiple Grammys this set was awarded. There may be other Rites of Spring that do individual things well, (namely the stellar sonics and bass drum/organ impact on the Salonen/LA Phil recording from 2003 or the visceral, primal, if flawed reading Gergiev gives) however overall this set rises above the rest. While I intend to get the others I just mentioned for comparison, this set will be the standard by which I judge future recordings; the playing is flawless and the interpretation is above reproach.
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