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Masaaki Suzuki, Tapiola Sinfonietta - Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016) [Re-Up]

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Masaaki Suzuki, Tapiola Sinfonietta - Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016) [Re-Up]

Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016)
Tapiola Sinfonietta, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 277 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 153 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: BIS | # BIS-SACD-2211 | Time: 01:04:55

Masaaki Suzuki is firmly established as a leading authority on the works of Bach, both in his capacity as director of the Bach Collegium Japan and as an organist and harpsichordist. In recent years he has also been appearing in front of eminent orchestras worldwide, however, conducting repertoire as diverse as Britten, Fauré or Mahler. For his first recording of 20th century repertoire, Suzuki has chosen to collaborate with the acclaimed Tapiola Sinfonietta in an all-Stravinsky programme. The disc begins with the music for Pulcinella – here in the concert suite devised by the composer – which Stravinsky later described as ‘the epiphany through which the whole of my later work became possible’. Pulcinella was commissioned in 1919 by the Ballets Russes, for which Stravinsky had already written The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. For this adaptation of an early eighteenth-century commedia dell'arte libretto, he based his score on existing music, initially ascribed to Pergolesi although material by other baroque composers is also included. Stravinsky’s approach is never that of a faithful transcriber, however: in Pulcinella the material is slanted harmonically, rhythmically and texturally in a manner reminiscent of cubism – and it was indeed Picasso who provided the decor and costumes for the ballet's first performance. The neoclassical (or neobaroque) spirit remained a vital part of Stravinsky’s compositional armoury for a long time, and also informs the other two works presented here. The formal design of Concerto in D, composed some 25 years after Pulcinella, pays homage to the baroque concerti grossi of Vivaldi and Bach, while the score for the ballet Apollon musagète (also known as Apollo) contains references to French music from the 17th- and 18th-century – but there are also echoes of Tchaikovskian lushness in the work which is richly scored for a string orchestra which is often subdivided, and with many distinctions between solo and tutti lines.

Here is a surprise. Masaaki Suzuki not directing Bach and not directing a period performance. One suspects this will sell on his reputation alone. What will Stravinsky sound like directed by a man whose name is synonymous with an utterly reliable Bach cantata series? Suzuki is not the first period specialist to do this. The late Christopher Hogwood for example, made quite successful recordings of the Concerto in D along with some Martinů and Honegger. The Tapiola Sinfonietta are a top class small orchestra based in the town of Espoo some 20km west of Helsinki. Like several Finnish towns they have a splendid concert hall - if only England were blessed with so many - so the recording team from BIS have only to place microphones sensibly and a good recording is ensured. The surround sound is spacious and convincing as it always seems to be from this company. So I feel like a traitor to have to say that these performances are just satisfactory but not really recommendable given the competition.

The major work here is Apollo, an intensely beautiful, classically poised ballet unlike anything else Stravinsky wrote. In Suzuki's hands it sounds quite a nice piece (!), in the hands of Karajan for example, it is by turns sad and joyful , a limpid slow dance, every movement of which has a lilting subtlety which holds the listener, not to mention the playing of the 1970s Berlin Philharmonic which is unfair competition for virtually any other orchestra.

The Concerto in D is a vital and tuneful work, twelve minutes of joyfully off-beat rhythms and melodies. From Suzuki I am afraid it is very plain. Turn to Järvi and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie on Pentatone to hear one of many lively and superbly phrased alternatives.

Pulcinella is doubly handicapped, for this is just the suite, and once one has got used to the complete work with voices this truncated version of the score is harder to enjoy. It is nevertheless a lively and vital piece, perhaps the best of Stravinsky's baroque-inspired works. Suzuki does convey much subtlety of phrasing but it often sounds studied and artificial compared to Stravinsky himself who recorded the suite in 1965. Usually when I listen at home to the Concerto and to Pulcinella, which I do quite frequently, I find myself bouncing along with the music. It is just impossible to sit still (I don't do this in the concert hall!).

Overall, what we have here is a set of decent performances all lacking sparkle. Suzuki, oddly, 'ain't got rhythm' when it comes to this repertoire. Arnold Whittall's notes are interesting and thorough and the booklet is extremely well presented by the ever-reliable Andrew Barnett.

Review by Dave Billinge, MusicWeb-International


Masaaki Suzuki, Tapiola Sinfonietta - Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016) [Re-Up]



Masaaki Suzuki, Tapiola Sinfonietta - Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016) [Re-Up]




Tracklist:

Pulcinella Suite (1924, rev. 1949):
01. I. Sinfonia (Overture) (01:59)
02. II. Serenata (02:50)
03. III. a) Scherzino b) Allegro c) Andantino (04:19)
04. IV. Tarantella (01:59)
05. V. Toccata (00:57)
06. VI. Gavotta (con due variazioni) (03:51)
07. VII. Vivo (01:30)
08. VIII. Minuetto (02:23)
09. IX. Finale (02:08)

Apollon musagète (1928, rev. 1947)
10. Naissance d'Apollon (04:55)
11. Variation d'Apollon (Apollon et les Muses) (03:02)
12. Pas d'action (Apollon et les trois Muses) (04:24)
13. Variation de Calliope (l'Alexandrin) (01:32)
14. Variation de Polymnie (01:23)
15. Variation Terpsichore (01:42)
16. Variation d'Apollon (02:22)
17. Pas de deux (Apollon et Terpsichore) (03:47)
18. Coda (Apollon et les Muses) (03:24)
19. Apotheose (03:32)

Concerto in D for string orchestra (1946):
20. I. Vivace (05:49)
21. II. Arioso. Andantino (02:57)
22. III. Rondo. Allegro (03:59)


Exact Audio Copy V1.1 from 23. June 2015

EAC extraction logfile from 8. July 2016, 22:18

Tapiola Sinfonietta, Masaaki Suzuki / Stravinsky - Pulcinella; Apollon musagète

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TOC of the extracted CD

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1 | 0:00.00 | 1:59.25 | 0 | 8949
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Range status and errors

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AccurateRip summary

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==== Log checksum FFFC02B3DDB52CFCEAFFC4A7D3E1D84E15E8D1BA96304F51098076F976B0C88B ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2016-07-19 13:56:23

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Tapiola Sinfonietta, Masaaki Suzuki / Stravinsky - Pulcinella; Apollon musagete
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR12 -5.13 dB -23.10 dB 1:59 01-Pulcinella Suite - I. Sinfonia (Overture)
DR11 -13.30 dB -29.48 dB 2:50 02-Pulcinella Suite - II. Serenata
DR16 -3.21 dB -24.32 dB 4:20 03-Pulcinella Suite - III. a) Scherzino b) Allegro c) Andantino
DR13 -3.80 dB -21.30 dB 2:00 04-Pulcinella Suite - IV. Tarantella
DR14 -2.78 dB -21.18 dB 0:57 05-Pulcinella Suite - V. Toccata
DR13 -8.70 dB -26.29 dB 3:52 06-Pulcinella Suite - VI. Gavotta (con due variazioni)
DR13 -2.77 dB -19.83 dB 1:31 07-Pulcinella Suite - VII. Vivo
DR13 -1.63 dB -21.23 dB 2:24 08-Pulcinella Suite - VIII. Minuetto
DR13 -0.74 dB -18.27 dB 2:09 09-Pulcinella Suite - IX. Finale
DR12 -4.31 dB -23.36 dB 4:55 10-Apollon musagete - Naissance d'Apollon
DR13 -13.80 dB -32.00 dB 3:02 11-Apollon musagete - Variation d'Apollon (Apollon et les Muses)
DR13 -8.44 dB -26.79 dB 4:25 12-Apollon musagete - Pas d'action (Apollon et les trois Muses)
DR15 -5.82 dB -26.24 dB 1:32 13-Apollon musagete - Variation de Calliope (l'Alexandrin)
DR17 -2.11 dB -24.17 dB 1:23 14-Apollon musagete - Variation de Polymnie
DR13 -9.48 dB -27.55 dB 1:43 15-Apollon musagete - Variation Terpsichore
DR12 -3.17 dB -22.35 dB 2:23 16-Apollon musagete - Variation d'Apollon
DR12 -10.26 dB -28.87 dB 3:48 17-Apollon musagete - Pas de deux (Apollon et Terpsichore)
DR14 -2.78 dB -20.87 dB 3:24 18-Apollon musagete - Coda (Apollon et les Muses)
DR11 -8.53 dB -25.60 dB 3:33 19-Apollon musagete - Apotheose
DR14 -3.59 dB -22.94 dB 5:49 20-Concerto in D - I. Vivace
DR13 -8.62 dB -27.12 dB 2:58 21-Concerto in D - II. Arioso. Andantino
DR16 -0.60 dB -25.10 dB 4:00 22-Concerto in D - III. Rondo. Allegro
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 22
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 586 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Masaaki Suzuki, Tapiola Sinfonietta - Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Apollon Musagète; Concerto in D for Strings (2016) [Re-Up]