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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough Hewn Rite - the essence of the work
Valery Gergiev is a passionate conductor and it is somewhat of a surprise to hear his interpretation of Stravinsky's landmark work. This is an unusally quiet, brooding birth, less the outwardly dramatic, sonic bursting performances to which we've grown accustomed. While we wait for what Salonen and the LA Phil do with this work in the new acoutically wondrous Disney Hall...
Published on 18 Oct 2003 by Grady Harp

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Music but...
The last track on the MP3 collection cut short after ~12 minutes. So I got a refund from Amzon on the MP3 album and then ordered the CD. When that arrived it also wouldn't play the last section of the last track and the CD appeared to be damaged slightly (did Amazon sell me the CD that they used to rip the MP3? Who knows) Anyway it all ended happily in the end as Linux...
Published 19 months ago by mike williams


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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough Hewn Rite - the essence of the work, 18 Oct 2003
By 
Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Valery Gergiev is a passionate conductor and it is somewhat of a surprise to hear his interpretation of Stravinsky's landmark work. This is an unusally quiet, brooding birth, less the outwardly dramatic, sonic bursting performances to which we've grown accustomed. While we wait for what Salonen and the LA Phil do with this work in the new acoutically wondrous Disney Hall in Los Angeles there is much to be learned and absorbed by this magnificently understated recording. Gergiev presents the ballet score more as a symphonic poem, uncovering many delicate moments rarely heard in this masterpiece. Not that he is afraid of massive outbursts - those are captured by him in this spacious recording brilliantly. The Kirov Orchestra obviously has played this piece countless times, evident in the inner voices of the orchestra sounding so completely secure. Just take the time to listen to this performance in a darkened room at night, and the effect is astonishingly mysterious and strangely "beautiful".
The Scriabin without the light effects has always seemed to me to be a work truly created for the recording industry! There is little structure to POEM OF ECSTASY but it is brimming over in lush colors and eroticism. Not a great work, but Gergiev plays it for all its kitschy goodness and makes it wholly believable. This recording of the POEM is a gold standard for orchestral colors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive recordings of both works with a clear sense of the stage in the Rite, 28 Oct 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This disc, very well recorded in 1999, brings impressive performances of both works. These make an unusual coupling but both share the large scale of creative vision so, in that way, they could make sense coupled together as here.

Gergiev takes a typically heavyweight view of the Rite and his choice of tempi is no doubt influenced by his experiences of conducting the staged ballet as it was first envisaged, in contrast with the many conductors who view it as an orchestral piece separate from any likelihood of staged ballet. Gergiev's version of the ballet is now available on Blu-ray/DVD and is danced and played by the Kirov ballet. Although that recording of the ballet was made after this recording, the similarity of approach with an eye to what is actually practical as dance, is apparent in this recording and that adds to its sense of authenticity.

The Scriabin Poem is a later work in his short life where his imagination was becoming very free flowing. This is evident in his use of thematic material and the orchestration which requires a very large orchestra. The work is not a regular part of the repertory and this performance is as good as one can hope for. It manages to keep a grip on a score that can so easily lose directional sense.

In both works the playing of the orchestra is outstanding and the recording does the players proud.

I would suggest that this disc deserves to be seriously considered as a strong possibility for purchase by both collectors interested in multiple interpretations and also purchasers looking for a single example.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Rite" out of the Top Drawer., 18 April 2013
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I was introduced to Stravinsky's masterpiece in 1959 when I bought the then highly rated Decca LP featuring Ernest Ansermet and L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande. And now in 2013 after hearing numerous versions through the intervening decades, I was persuaded to purchase this version.
What a revalation. I am hearing sounds missing before, with phrasing and emphasis that presents a whole new experience and rejuvenates my delight. It must be a combination of Gergiev's perception, the Kirov musicians and the recording technicians. One thing is for sure ... Stravinsky wrote every note and intended each one to be heard. The result is thrilling.
I am indebted to those people who have taken the trouble to write their opinions and praise this CD so highly. Without your input I may very well have missed it. Thank you.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sonic spectacular and a really personal interpretation, 4 July 2009
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Previous reviewers on Amazon.uk are uniformly positive about this disc. There are far more reviews on Amazon.com but they include some ridiculously harsh and derogatory judgements about the sound, the interpretation and the playing. Too many people on Amazon get their kicks by being superior and snooty about first-rate artists, so let's dispense with their criticisms first. OK; the tam-tam is momentarily lost and out of time right at the beginning of the "Dance of the Earth" and just occasionally the horns are underlit by the engineer, but these tiny flaws pale into insignificance beside the raw energy, commitment and passion of this performance. What so many dolts call "mistakes" are the results of Gergiev's interpretation; he is no slave to the score but uses it as a springboard to deliver a thrilling, newly thought-out version of this seminal work. Thus the cross-rhythms are played with, unwritten pauses are introduced (as before the final chord) and tempi subtly distorted to create specific effects: that's what a conductor is supposed to do, I thought, as long as it is artistically justified - and here it certainly is. I ask you, is it really likely that a conductor of Gergiev's eminence, directing his own orchestra, who have played this difficult piece countless times, would mess up so badly given three days to record less than an hour's music? The sound is an engineering triumph; so much is intense and startling, and so much detail emerges within a dynamic spectrum that ranges from a true ppp to a real fff that this is an audio-buff's dream. The clarity of the sound allows us to hear that Gergiev is at times a bit vocal, as is his wont, but he's hardly the first conductor to supply a few ostinato grunts. To cap it off, we have spectacular performance of Scriabin's post-Wagnerian/Debussyian indulgence "The Poem of Ecstasy": a lush, dreamy account which flowers into a magnificent climax.

Ignore the carpers; this is a superb disc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Energy, 19 May 2013
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This is a very good recording that captures the energy of the Rite, and then some. I can not imagine a more impressive recording of music that still feels fresh and energising every time I hear it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Stravinsky would have put it, 'Wow!'....., 4 Dec 2012
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I am not normally disposed to make a bee-line for what Gergiev does, in concert or on disc, but when I first heard this performance I was reminded of Stravinsky hearing Bernstein conducting The Rite and (allegedly), in lieu of a long critique, uttering a simple 'Wow!'. Gergiev's is a stupendous performance. 'Wow!' indeed.....
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "clinically clean" but passionate, 15 Oct 2010
By 
Robert Phillips "Rob" (London) - See all my reviews
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Thank you to the previous 4 reviewers for steering me into buying this recording.

I absolutely LOVE the four-hands piano arrangement of Le Sacre Du Printemps and have lost myself many times in the complexity and dynamic of the recording by Benjamin Frith and Peter Hill. To be honest, I have avoided orchestral recordings because of this.

I finally wanted to take the leap into a full orchestral recording, but found many versions terribly "mechanical" and "clinical". Every note in exactly the right place, but somehow shallow with little character and minimal depth of feeling.

Gergiev's interpretation is challenging for me as the tempo, rhythm and weight of many passages feel very different from the piano arrangement, but the passion and earthiness of this performance took my breath away and I am growing to love it as much as the piano version - for different reasons and in a different way but equally.

As has been mentioned, criticism has been thrown at this recording because it is not as technically precise as some. Surely that is the beauty of this performance. A passionate, characterful, human and raw reading of a powerful milestone composition.

I can't recommend this CD highly enough.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As exicting as it gets, 15 Feb 2009
Having seen Gergiev on the TV had to buy the CD, and was not disappointed. I have seen the Rite live and have other audio versions but this certainly is one of the best. It brings the whole barbaric sacrifice to life with great pace and dynamic.
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15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an explosive and gripping interpretation, 18 Jan 2002
By 
Mr. Nadim Bakhshov "Nadim Bakhshov" (Bloomsbury, London) - See all my reviews
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I thoroughly recommend this CD. Gergiev brings outthe intense drama and theatricality of this landmark of 20th century Music.
If you thought you knew it I would recommend buying this and listening to it. You're in for a shock!
From the opening it takes hold of you and casts you into a maelstrom of imagination and musical inventiveness. That Stravinsky was a genius is rarely disputed. This piece, with all its gory detail, its hypnotic rhythmns and raging dissonances, is undoubtedly a masterpiece of contemporary classical music.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Music but..., 21 Nov 2012
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The last track on the MP3 collection cut short after ~12 minutes. So I got a refund from Amzon on the MP3 album and then ordered the CD. When that arrived it also wouldn't play the last section of the last track and the CD appeared to be damaged slightly (did Amazon sell me the CD that they used to rip the MP3? Who knows) Anyway it all ended happily in the end as Linux (computer OS) was able to read the final track.
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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy by St. Petersburg and Valery Gergiev Orchestra of the Kirov Opera
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