STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring. The Firebird Suite (1911 version)
Walther Straham Concerts Orch/Igor Stravinsky, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 387 TT: 60:36
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STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring. RAVEL: Le petit poucet from Ma mere l'oye. La Valse. COPPOLA: Dramatic Interlude. CHABRIER: Fete Polonaise.
Paris Symphonic Orch/Pierre Monteux, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 219 TT: 62:27
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BARTÓK: Piano Concerto No. 1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E.
Geza Anda, piano; Berlin Radio Symphony Orch/Ferenc Fricsay, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 388 TT: 78:46
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Here are three major historic reissues from Pristine Audio. We have the first two recordings ever made of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. The complete history of these has been mentioned in detail on this site (REVIEW). The composer's is a new perfect transfer by Mark Obert-Thorn, who has worked wonders in getting sound from these 78 rpm disks made in 1929, coupled with a suite from Firebird recorded a year earlier. Obert-Thorn's Monteux transfers were released on Pristine several years ago, and again we can be certain we hear everything that could be heard. Both French orchestras are severely taxed by this very challenging music: you'll hear much imprecision and out-of-tune playing, and we must remember that Stravinsky was not known as a conductor, even later in his career. However, in spite of the thin sound of the French orchdestras, both versions are of major importance to collectors and sound better than in any previous releases. . The Monteux CD is filled out with shorter work and one might wonder why the Coppola work was chosen for preservation in disk. But it is intriguing to hear La Valse in Monteux's hasty reading, even though it is not very well played. Worthy issues!

Ever since they were recorded in 1959 (Concertos 2 and 3) and 1960 (No. 1) these performances of Bartók's piano concertos has achieved legendary status,and rightfully so. Geza Anda (1921-1976) and Ference Fricsay (1914-1963) were Hungarian and these fiery performances have never sounded better now that Andrew Rose has administered XR remastering that has corrected wow, flutter and pitch as well as correcting faulty edits. A marvelous release! You might wish to investiage a live performance of Concerto No. 2 recorded in 1972 with Anda, Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw (REVIEW).

R.E.B. (June 2013)