Stravinsky: Chant funèbre, Op 5; Feu d'artifice, Op 4; Scherzo fantastique, Op 3; Le Faune et la Bergère, Op 2; Le Sacre du printemps

Reviewed on Mon 08 Jan, 2018

Riccardo Chailly leads a vivid and powerful account of The Rite of Spring that avoids the glib showpiece approach of some other conductors.

Stravinsky’s Funeral Song, written in memory of Rimsky-Korsakov, was lost following its sole performance in 1908 and recently found – numerous local premieres have ensued in the last couple of years – and is here recorded for the first time. It opens ominously and develops darkly impassioned outbursts, looking back to Rimsky’s fantastical style and anticipating young Igor’s own Firebird. Alongside are pieces contemporaneous to the gap-filling Funeral Song (it’s his Opus 5) such as the scintillating Fireworks, and the fleet and airy – and poignantly lyrical – Scherzo fantastique. Not far away in terms of years was The Rite of Spring, and following a delectable and dramatic Faun and Shepherdess from Sophie Koch (sung in French), Riccardo Chailly leads a vivid and powerful account that avoids the glib showpiece approach of some other conductors; details abound and tempos are well-chosen across the whole. This impressive 70-minute release enjoys exemplary playing and sound.
–Colin Anderson