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Stravinsky: Symphony in C; Symphony In Three Movements

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Audio CD, January 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With neo-classical works such as those on this disc, Stravinsky showed that great music could still be composed with the simplest of means, recalling Beethoven' achievement yet using his own thoroughly modern rhythmic vitality, grace and refinement.


These are reissues of performances set down in the 1990s and issued on the Music Masters and Koch labels. This disc opens with the Octet and "Dumbarton Oaks," both superior performances, and both recorded in the Recital Hall at the State University of N.Y. (SUNY), Purchase, an acoustic gem if ever there was one. The Octet is especially glorious, the winds ringing out with astonishing clarity and panache. This replaces the 1947 Bernstein/BSO recording as the most thrilling performance I have ever heard. Worth the price of the disc, which is just as well. "Dumbarton Oaks" is as fine as it gets, but the piece is not one of Stravinsky's most inspired.

The Symphony in C is played with greater weight than on the composer's own recordings, and with more emphasis on the winds. While this makes it sound more symphonic, it sacrifices the pure joy that made the piece so successful as a ballet score. The Philharmonia is a bit casual, even sloppy at times. The recorded sound, from Abbey Road Studio No. 1, is fine, but it is a letdown after SUNY Purchase. Craft lights into the Symphony of Three Movements with abandon, at a terrific pace. The first few bars suggest that this is just what the piece needs, but the orchestra is even messier than in the Symphony in C. So much for the best intentions. -- Fanfare Archive, James H. North, May/June 2009

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Octet: I. Sinfonia: AllegroTwentieth Century Classics Ensemble 3:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Octet: II. Theme and VariationsTwentieth Century Classics Ensemble 6:33$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. Octet: III. FinaleTwentieth Century Classics Ensemble 3:16$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. Concerto in E-Flat Major, "Dumbarton Oaks": I. Tempo giustoOrchestra of St. Luke's 4:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. Concerto in E-Flat Major, "Dumbarton Oaks": II. AllegrettoOrchestra of St. Luke's 3:48$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Concerto in E-Flat Major, "Dumbarton Oaks": III. Con motoOrchestra of St. Luke's 5:00$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Symphony in C Major: I. Moderato alla brevePhilharmonia Orchestra 9:20Album Only
  8. Symphony in C Major: II. Larghetto concertantePhilharmonia Orchestra 6:24$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Symphony in C Major: III. AllegrettoPhilharmonia Orchestra 4:47$0.89  Buy MP3 
10. Symphony in C Major: IV. Largo - Tempo giusto, alla brevePhilharmonia Orchestra 7:03$0.89  Buy MP3 
11. Symphony in 3 Movements: I. half note = 80Philharmonia Orchestra 9:43Album Only
12. Symphony in 3 Movements: II. Andante - InterludePhilharmonia Orchestra 5:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
13. Symphony in 3 Movements: III. Con motoPhilharmonia Orchestra 5:59$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble
  • Orchestra: Orchestra of St. Luke's, Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Craft
  • Composer: Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (January 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,138 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Naxos has done us a mitzvah by reissuing a series -- this is the tenth CD -- of recordings made by Robert Craft in the 1990s on first the Music Masters and later the Koch International labels. They have recombined them on their own CDs, and indeed this disc has six tracks from Music Masters (1-6) and seven from Koch (7-13). The disc includes two of Stravinsky's symphonies -- Symphony in C, and Symphony in Three Movements -- combined with two of his delicious chamber works, the Octet for Winds, and the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto.

The Octet for Winds, played here by members of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, is a sassy, light-hearted piece for eight winds. Premiered in 1923, it was dedicated to Stravinsky's mistress, later wife, Vera de Bosset. It is in three movements: a kind of overture, a theme and variations, and a jazzy finale. It is probably Stravinsky's first completely neo-classic piece and it has remained a great favorite of instrumentalists and audiences alike. The virtuosos of the St Luke's play it in great style.

The Dumbarton Oaks Concerto (1938) is named for the Washington DC estate of Robert and Mildred Bliss, great friends of Stravinsky, and it was premiered there with Nadia Boulanger conducting. Written for ten strings and five winds, it too is in three movements (delightfully choreographed years later by Jerome Robbins) with the typical concerto grosso fast-slow-fast form. In my mind it will always be inextricably connected with the equally ever-fresh Jeu de Cartes ballet because the two were on my very first Stravinsky recording back in the mid-1950s. But it makes a perfect partner for the Octet as well, sharing as it does Stravinsky's nose-thumbing wit. And this is a lovely, spot-on performance, no surprise with an old Stravinsky hand like Craft on the podium.
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I got this primarily for the Stravinsky Octet. The other Stravinsky pieces are worthwhile, and the performances, under Robert
Craft, are quite good.

Inexpensive too!
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