One of the biggest scandals in the history of music stirred Paris as the Ballets Russes created the new ballet by Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky, 'The Rite of Spring', conducted by Pierre Monteux. To celebrate this anniversary, François- Xavier Roth, with special permission from Boosey & Hawkes and with the assistance of musicologist Louis Cyr, have endeavored to restore the 'Rite' as it was given on the evening of May 29 1913.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK 'As heard at the scandalous 1913 world première is the gist of Roth s claims for this first period-instrument recording of The Rite with special permission from Boosey & Hawkes, which usually only authorises performances of Stravinsky s 1967 edition. It s certainly hard to imagine the first performance, under Pierre Monteux, being as well played as this, as Les Siècles follow up their revelatory account of the complete Firebird score. The sound of their French-made turn-of-the-century (mostly 1880s to 1920s) instruments throws fresh light on these modern masterpieces: a tuba, two-thirds the size of modern ones, by Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone; and wonderful Buffet Crampon clarinets and bassoons. The Rite s famous bassoon solo is played without the octave key invented to make this very music less difficult to play. One can t listen with 1913 ears, of course, but there s a palpable sense of freshness with more astringent gut strings that convey the abrasiveness of Stravinsky s writing better than their modern metal equivalents. It s not clear from the notes whether the piano soloist in Petrushka is using an Erard or a Pleyel, but the sound is luminous and transparent, and Roth effortlessly evokes the eeriness of the puppet s ghostly apparition at the close.' --Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times 15 June 2014
ORCHESTRAL CHOICE ***** Performance/ ***** Recording 'a chance to hear the Rite close to how Stravinsky originally conceived it for its 1913 premiere in Paris … an exciting visceral performance of The Rite of Spring, culminating in a ferocious final dance.' --Daniel Jaffe, BBC Music Magazine
'plenty to admire in the playing from Les Siecles … this disc is mandatory listening' --Mark Pullinger, International Record Review, September 2014
SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST RECORDS OF THE YEAR Classical No.13 'Explosive period-instrument performances of these modern classics give an impression of what it was like to be there in 1913 and 1911.' --Hugh Canning The Sunday Times, 7th December 2014
BBC RADIO 3 CD REVIEW CRITICS CHOICE OF THE YEAR 2014 'a fantastic recording...the balance is changed by the different instrumental sonorities, you actually hear different things emerging from the texture, and it s so exciting...it s so visceral' --Flora Wilson BBC Radio 3 CD Review, 20th December 2014
'there s a heart-lifting sense of renewal and rediscovery ... these are very worthwhile performances; indeed, those who think they know these scores will be surprised at how much other performers seem to miss ... Illuminating and individual' --Dan Morgan, Music Web International, 19th January 2015