Audio Video Club of Atlanta
, January 2013
This Petrushka has a lot of things going for it. Using the original 1911 score…provides Gerard Schwarz a rich, deeply-hued canvas to work with. It also gives ample scope to every family of the orchestra, and in particular the woodwinds. There are many incidents in Stravinsky’s ballet in four scenes, but the score is surprisingly economical for all that, and Schwarz keeps a firm rein on the continual changes of tempo and texture that make Petrushka what it is.
For this 1988 performance, recorded in stunning detail by producer Adam Stern and engineer John Eargle, Delos Records first used the Colossus digital encoding system, ensuring greater clarity of detail, discrete quadrophonic capability, and superior imaging of orchestral timbres and textures. In a score featuring quadruple woodwind, cornets, two trumpets and a pair of harps in additional to a substantial string section, there is no blurring of details.
The program also includes the 1986 recording by Schwarz and the Seattle of the symphonic version of Song of the Nightingale…Stravinsky was able to contrast the more consonant sound of the Nightingale’s eloquent song, realized by a solo violin delicately supported by harp, piano, and celesta, with the more chromatically dissonant sounds emanating from its mechanical rival. As in Petrushka, there is wealth of orchestral timbres and colors here, especially for the woodwinds and brass that give the score so much of its character. It is just the sort of thing that Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle SO were used to eating for breakfast. © 2013 Audio Video Club of Atlanta