Stravinsky: Rite/ Petrushka (Andrew Litton/ Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (BIS: BISSACD1474)
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This release sees the critically acclaimed Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under its music director Andrew Litton perform two scores by Igor Stravinsky that stand at the pinnacle of 20th-century orchestral music. Both Petrouchka and Le Sacre du printemps were written for the ballet impressario Sergei Diaghilev and his company Les Ballets Russes. The particularly striking aspect of Petrouchka was the extensive use of folk song and street music, treated with extreme refinement and often biting irony - the character of Petrushka, a puppet come to life, was described by Stravinsky as 'the immortal and unhappy hero of every fair-ground in all countries'. The scandal associated with the 1913 premiere of Le sacre du printemps has become legendary - a scandal probably caused as much by Nijinsky's choreography as by Stravinsky's score. But even today, the music offers an extremely powerful experience, above all through its rhythmic qualities.
"Litton and the Bergen players are bursting with life." International Record Review
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