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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Premiere recording of LE SACRE real gem, April 27, 2006
This review is from: Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, Vol. 2. (Audio CD)
Monteux's interpretations of LE SACRE are of great musical and historical significance in that he premiered the ballet on stage in 1913, as well as conducting the first performances of the work in the concert hall the year after.

Both Monteux and Stokowski released the first recordings of the score (1929) and the Monteux recording is miraculously preserved here. The Stokowski has also been pressed onto cd format and is quite different from Monteux's original take in areas of shading and tempo. (Note that in the ten years separating the original Stokowski take and his re-recording of the score for the 1940 FANTASIA, his tempi and shadings had come more in line witih Monteux's original).

Monteux recorded the score four times. His most famous recording is the mono 1951 Boston Symphony version which is for my money the best- available in a number of cd pressings. He also recorded it for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - also available on cd (date not given). I have no info on the fourth recording.

Comparing the 1929 original with the 1951, I find very little variation in performance. The Introduction to Part Two is taken a bit more slowly and sensually in 1929 than in 1951, but for the most part Monteux's interpretation had not changed in the 22 years separating the recordings.

The 1929 contains surface noise and at some points quiet murmurs from what seems to be an audience. There is occasional distortion in the original tapes, which gives it a certain charm - and in the instance of this particular piece of music, distortion does not harm the aural experience.

This and the 1929 Stokowski are must-owns alongside the famous 1951 Monteux.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 13, 2011 8:07:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 13, 2011 8:33:11 AM PDT
Discophage says:
All the info about Monteux' discography can be found here: http://patachonf.free.fr/musique/monteux/discographie.php. His four studio recordings of Le Sacre are this one with the Grand Orchestre Symphonique of Paris in 1929, the March 1945 version with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for RCA (Stravinsky: Petrushka; The Rite of Spring; there was also an "official" BMG CD reissue from 2004, listed as ASIN B0002YD7EU on the other sister companies, but it is currently offered on none), the 1951 version you refer to with the Boston Symphony again for RCA, and the remake from December 1954 with Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, still for RCA (listed on Amazon.fr under ASIN B000025WFB). There are some live recordings too.

Incidentally, Monteux' recording, from May 1929 (HMV 1016/9), predates Stokowski's (Victor 7227/30 or HMV D 1919/22), which was made in two different sessions, September '29 and March '30. But I'm not sure Monteux' was the premiere recording: the composer had also recorded it, with the Straram Orchestra in Paris, on May 7 and 10, 1929 (Columbia D 15213/7). So it is a close call with Monteux.
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