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Reviews: Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex, Les Noces - Gergiev

Reviews: 2

Site review by Castor May 31, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:    
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=6481#reviews

Review by willemvoorneveld June 25, 2012 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Gergievís Les Noces is one with a rifle in the attack. There is little subtlety in the way Gergiev plows through the score. I do not know who is to blame for this subpar performance; is it the team of soloists, the recording engineers or Gergiev himself or just all of them together. The soloists sing with aggression and little nuance and Gergiev backs them up with a loud orchestra in a hurry.

To make things worse the orchestra seems to be playing with only the middle placed microphone active. I initially thought my equipment to be faulty and therefore tested this recording on my second surround setup to find out that the results were similar. From the four pianoís that form part of the instrumentation I could barely discover one of them seemingly playing from somewhere beneath the podium. !
What a difference this is with the SACD recording with the RIAS kammerchor under Daniel Reuss (Harmonia Mundi) released in 2006.

The main reason to buy this SACD was the release of Oedipus Rex, since as far as I know; no other release on SACD does exist of this work.
Lucky enough for me the qualifications I listed for Les Noces do not apply to the recording of Oedipus Rex. There are a few interesting moments created by the soloists and Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra. Evgeny Nikitin copes well with his difficult role as Creon and the Messenger and from all the Soloists he seems to have the best handle on the Latin language used in this score. The other good note needs to go to the Mariisky Chorus that keeps this performance going.
Still, this portion of Stravinskyís oeuvre does not seem to be Gergievís cup of tea. A solid performance but in no way very entertaining or special.

The recording of this Oedipus has good low frequency sound (percussion) and some instrumental details come over very real, but the overall soundstage is narrow as if no surround channels are active. The acoustical space in which this performance is recorded is not clear at all.

Last but not least, Gerard Depardieu as Narrator seems to have an off day too, as if he wants to warn the listener for a very dull performance to come. This performance is no match for Haitink on DVD or Davis/Norman on Orfeo or Bernstein on CBS, but all these mentioned recordings are technically outdated and a new Oedipus Rex on SACD is very much needed.

Wv

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