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Ballet music with the London Symphony Orchestra, conductor Simon Rattle - CD Review, 5th – 6th of May 2022

Thursday, 13 October 2022 , ora 10.22

Composer Igor Stravinsky's creations revolutionized the world of classical music at the turn of the last century. His ballets "The Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring", written between 1911 and 1913 and premiered in Paris, earned him fame and the reputation of a modern, original and bold creator, whose music astonished with its complex and striking rhythmic structures, which the world had never seen up until that point. It has been over a century since the emergence of these musical creations which were recorded over the years by famous orchestras, the most recent recording of Stravinsky's ballets belonging to the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. It is a double disc released on the 25th of March 2022, featuring concert printings made in September 2017 at London's Barbican Hall, marking the beginning of conductor Simon Rattle's first season as music director of the famous English orchestra. With an impressive discography of over 70 albums, Simon Rattle is a highly regarded performer of Stravinsky's orchestral scores. He recorded, among others, the Symphony of Psalms from the Russian composer's work at the Berlin Philharmonic and received a Grammy Award for his outstanding achievement in 2009. Now he returns to Stravinsky's compositions with the release of this album of ballet music. The conductor gives the London Orchestra energy, drama, rhythmic incisiveness and evocative sound colours, and manages to convey that intense emotion which can only be felt live in concert halls.

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle took over as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, and the institution organized a festival entitled "This is Rattle" for the occasion. The conductor then proposed performing the ballet suites "Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring" in one concert, with breaks between each piece. The event took place on the 21st of September 2017, was rerun three days later and had a resounding success in London, and now, more than four years later, the recording of the concert has been published on this double disc released on the 25th of March. Sir Simon Rattle confesses that this project of particular scope was an earlier dream of his, which he also proposed to the Philharmonia Orchestra in the English capital nearly four decades ago, but was turned down by the ensemble's manager. Finally, at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle got the opportunity to make his dream come true, fascinated by the development of Stravinsky's music between 1908 and 1913, when the Russian composer wrote his three ballet suites. The outcome of this project is astonishing: Simon Rattle says that his album "is a tribute to the London Symphony Orchestra, one of the world's finest ensembles in Stravinsky's music".

Larisa Clempuș
Translated by Oana Ionescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu