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Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 11, 1993
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Spectateurs...
  2. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Kaedit nos pestis
  3. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Liberi, vos liberabo
  4. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Respondit deus
  5. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Non reperias
  6. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Oedipe interroge la fontaine de vérité
  7. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Dikere non possum
  8. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Invidia fortunam odit
  9. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Gloria
  10. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Gloria
  11. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: La dispute des princes attire Jocaste
  12. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Nonn' erubeskite, reges
  13. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Ego senem kekidi
  14. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Le témoin du meutre sort de l'ombre
  15. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Oportebat takere
  16. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Nonne monstrum
  17. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: In monte reppertus est
  18. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Et maintenant, vous allez entendre...
  19. Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio in 2 acts: Divum Jocastae


Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Most
  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (May 11, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol / EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00000DNQI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,704 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on September 3, 2005
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This is large-scale, dramatic Stravinsky, the kind I like the most. Having heard Welser-Most live, I was amazed at how much better he is than his reputation would lead one to believe. He is a spuerlative conductor who may grow into a great one. This performance shows off his skill at handling a large chorus in a thrustful, almost lush reading of Stravinsky's neoclassical masterpiece. Highly recommened, even though none of the singers, except for Rolfe-Johnson as Oedipus, is truly outstanding. But he is, the best of the singers in the Peter Pears tradition, who try to make Oedipus quietly poignant and tragic through self-realization.
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Stravinsky exploded on the world with his three early ballets, "The Firebird", "Petroushka", and "The Rite of Spring". He wrote smaller works during the First World War, for obvious reasons. He settled in Paris and there all things Greek were all the rage. The prolific and influential Jean Cocteau was one of those at the heart of this. Stravinsky approached him about the collaboration and Cocteau wrote the story of Oedipus in French. Stravinsky was interested in a monumental affect for this piece and the Abbé Danielou reworked this into a suitable Latin text for the kind of work Stravinsky had in mind.

The composer had chosen Latin for this work because he did not want a dead language, but one that had turned to stone. Stravinsky's compositional use of language emphasized syllables and often set them against their normal pronunciation for dramatic and musical affect. The idea was that most people would be familiar with the story, so Latin would be less of a barrier. Cocteau also suggested adding the commentator in the native language of the listeners. This addition has been quite controversial over the years, but it is always done with these interruptions. I think they actually work well for the piece.

The monumental affect for the piece is emphasized in the term Stravinsky gave the work: an opera oratorio. He wanted masks and for the chorus to be stationary and more to be done with lighting than movement. This has all been reinterpreted many ways over the years. However, those that have used masks and emphasized the stone and statue in the work tend to be more successful.

The piece premiered in 1927 on a program with "The Firebird" and made little impact.
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