* STRAVINSKY: Rite of Spring; Firebird Suite; Scherzo; Tango – Budapest Festival Orch./ Ivan Fischer – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 32112, 63:10 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:
This is the first recorded performance of the Rite of Spring that makes me believe that the work could have caused that riot at its premiere in Paris in 1913. All of Ivan Fischer’s recordings with Channel Classics have been excellent; this is the first big symphony orchestra outside of the Netherlands that the label has been recording, and the hi-res surround is first rate, as with all of their efforts. The wild rhythms and primitive percussion really grab the listener.
There are a number of competitors on SACD in this work. Esa-Pekka Salonen’s DGG recording from 2006 is excellent but not quite the ruthless though controlled impact of Fischer and his Budapest players. The version on Telarc with Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra sounds mild and laid back compared to the other two.
The seven movements of the Firebird Suite are equally bright and attractive. I’m one of those hoary audiophiles who remember Mercury’s mono seven-inch demo disc with King Kaschei’s Infernal Dance on it. Needless to say, this new hi-res version leaves that one in the dust. The two fillers – which include Stravinsky’s own orchestral version of his Tango No. 72 – are a welcome addition.
Pure Pleasure Records releases a re-mastered vinyl of a live duo performance by Archie Shepp.