Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 28 May 2015
I doubt the Sacre is actually easy to play but I doubt it holds the terrors for orchestras it once did. And the problem then is this: now that it can be played accurately, how to keep the terrors for the audience it once had and should always have. Many of the available versions are - to my ear - too like a concerto for orchestra, too warm, too fast. Of course it can be thrilling taken at break-neck speed, but a slightly more deliberate pace maximises the menace. A little roughness round the edges does no harm either. But the issue with Gergiev's recording is, of course, the very end, for which you feel you have waited for ever. It must be wrong, mustn't it? Stravinsky would probably be livid. But perhaps what Gergiev was trying to do was give the piece that sense of overwhelming tension and raw fear which early audiences must have experienced. And when the crunch comes - what a crunch. The Sacre does come out of its two big predecessors amongst Stravinsky's ballets, but it's really quite different too, something this recording acknowledges. If it isn't a living thing, this - of all pieces - should be left alone. This one won't leave you alone, even if it annoys you. The one thing it isn't is safe, the sin of sins in any version of the piece.
The coupling with the Scriabin may or may not be a good idea. So far, I've never felt remotely like stepping into it after listening to the Stravinsky. Different parts of the brain and the viscera - both of which are stimulated to the nth degree by Gergiev's reading of the Sacre.