Stravinsky : Petrushka
Stravinsky : Petrushka
Ernest Ansermet, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Decca SXL 2011
Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram
Brand New and Sealed Record
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) : Petrouchka
A1 - Act One : The Shrovetide Carnival - Dance of the Puppets
A2 - Act Two : Petrochka's Room
B1 - Act Three : The Blackamoor's Room
B2 - Act Four : The Carnival - The Death of Petrouchka
Recorded in May 1958 at Victoria Hall in Geneva by Roy Wallace.
Petrouchka, premiered in 1911, was Stravinsky's second collaboration with Diaghilev after The Firebird in 1910 and before The Rite of Spring in 1913.
(Petrouchka, or Petrushka is a puppet character known across Europe under different names : Punch in England, Polichinelle in France, Pulcinella in Italy, Kasperle in Germany, and Petrouchka in Russia. Whatever his name, he is a trickster, a rebel, and a wife beater. He enforces moral justice with a slap stick, speaks in a high-pitched, squeaky voice, and argues with the devil).
Petrouchka was born of Stravinsky’s vision of a long-haired musician hammering indiscriminately at the piano keys and engaging in a furious contest with the orchestra which "answers with vehement protests and acoustic fisticuffs". As was the case with The Firebird and will be with The Rite of Spring, Sergei Diaghilev and his Russian ballet had their share in ensuring that the 'burlesque' in four scenes would be suitable for the stage.
The clown-doll Petrushka revels in his spiteful teasing and pranks at the Shrovetide fair. The orchestra contributes swirling dance figures, blaring brass and scurrying strings to his high-spirited clownery – but then the Moor enters and dances with the Ballerina, arousing jealousy in Petrushka. Although the clown-doll does not survive this bitter-sweet story, he triumphs at the end, his ghost mocking the crowd at the fair.
This highly inventive music combines folksong, popular music and the waltz, all bound together by exhilarating rhythms which are often taken to thunderous extremes. With its outstanding sound, this recording is a must-have in any Stravinsky collection.
DECCA is certainly to be congratulated for winning Ernest Ansermet for the present recording. No other conductor was granted the opportunity of following so closely all his life the creative process of this great composer. With its infallible perception of Stravinsky’s compositional language, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (long regarded by connoisseurs as one of the very best ensembles) admirably presents the varied colouring of the highly complex score, from the picturesque trills and slurs, to the lyrical, cantabile wind passages, and on to the unrelenting, hammering ostinati. Right from its very first release, the music and the performance have ensured that this recording has been dubbed “legendary”.
The "golden age" of recordings was from 1955 to 1965, at the beginning of the LP and the stereo era, where pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and illumination.
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head, and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under http://www.pure-analogue.com