Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Suzuki's Stravinsky


This is a disc I was so excited to see. I've been a huge fan of the epic Bach project on BIS by Masaaki Suzuki with his amazing Bach Collegium of Japan. I had heard that Suzuki was beginning to conduct new repertoire with various orchestras, and this project, with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, is the first to show up on CD. It's due to be released on June 10, 2016, though you can buy it now in FLAC or MP3 at eClassical now.

My favourite Pulcinella on disc is Pierre Boulez's recording of the full ballet on CSO Resound; my 2010 review is here. Suzuki has only recorded the suite, but his version is very fine. He takes, not surprisingly, a much warmer view of this music than Boulez, who admits to disliking Stravinsky's neo-classical music but making a exception for Pulcinella. There is nothing but love in Suzuki's version; he's always been one to wear his learning lightly, so it's no surprise that this music swings so beautifully while keeping true to Stravinsky's oddly time-warped version of 18th century music. This music is great fun in Suzuki's hands, but also heart-warming, and sometimes even moving.

I don't believe Boulez conducted either Apollon Musagete or the Concerto in D, so we can't compare his drier approach to Suzuki's. This mordant music works well with a more lyrical approach, though, and I could listen to both of these works often, as I have already. The Tapiola Sinfonietta is in excellent form, and though I haven't yet experienced the surround-sound version on the SACD, the stereo sound is full and rich and pleasant to listen to. All of those times, and many more in the future!

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