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David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, January 2018

The Russian-flavoured steel of the four soloists gives them backbone; soprano Rebecca Nash and tenor Robert Breault are outstanding, while bass Denis Sedov puts heart and soul into the moving final declamation. The pianos and percussion glint in well-balanced textures, with artistic xylophone tone. Though the climactic feast doesn’t go as crazy as it does with either Gergiev or Bernstein, this is a clear and enlightening performance, companionable enough at the price. © 2018 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review

Jim Svejda
Fanfare, March 2017

…a superbly-matched set of vocal soloists—the Russian-born Israeli bass Denis Sedov is particularly fine… © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Todd Gorman
American Record Guide, January 2017

All these instrumentalists are excellent; many moments of touchy coordination and potential for disconnect are handled well. The brass players have fine sounds but use hardly any vibrato. Overall, Stravinsky is served with all the professionalism and polish a listener could wish for. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

R. James Tobin
Classical Net, December 2016

…the performance of the Suite by Falletta and the Virginia players, as well as the recording, are splendid. Stravinsky would have approved, because the rhythms and phrasing are crisp, angular and vigorous, mostly similar to Stravinsky’s own recorded performance. There are two sections of the score where I find Falletta’s performance even better than Stravinsky’s. The pastoral section of the Suite is more gently pastoral, for one, and in the Tango, later, Falletta brings out the characteristic Tango swoop of the motion better.

Falletta’s performance of the Octet, which is in three movements, is very good. © 2016 Classical Net Read complete review

David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, December 2016


…soprano Rebecca Nash and tenor Robert Breault are outstanding, while bass Denis Sedov puts heart and soul into the moving final declamation. The pianos and percussion glint in well-balanced textures, with artistic xylophone tone. …this is a clear and enlightening performance, companionable enough at the price. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, November 2016

This is an essential Stravinsky CD with very crisp and colourful performances. © 2016 Pizzicato

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2016

In pungent performances that carry conviction, Joann Falletta conducts the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in performances of three signal works that reflect Igor Stravinsky’s new look for the immediate post-WWI era. They are the suite from The Soldier’s Tale (1920), Octet (1923, rev. 1952), and Les Noces (1923). These works share in various ways an impudent style, a preoccupation with rhythm amounting to obsession, and a penchant for odd ensembles in a quest for a distinct, even strange, interplay of timbres. © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, October 2016

This Naxos recording by JoAnn Falletta, the Les Noces Percussion Ensemble, the Virginia Symphony Chorus, the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, and other artists is exceptional in capturing that detached feeling, because the recordings are focused and free of background noise, and bring soloists to the foreground, emphasizing tone colors with even dynamics and crisp articulation. © 2016 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2016

…for the excellent selection of Stravinsky gems, for Falletta’s dedicated and weighted treatment of them, and for the Naxos price, you cannot go wrong with this release. …Very recommended. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, September 2016

…the performances have plenty of bounce, and the playing and singing are quite good throughout, but it is Falletta’s sure hand in shaping the music and ensuring its crispness that is the primary attraction here. © 2016 Read complete review

Gavin Engelbrecht
The Northern Echo, September 2016

JoAnn Falletta, directing a stellar lineup of artists, gets to the heart of Stravinsky’s visceral scores. © 2016 The Northern Echo

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, September 2016

Good for Maestra Falletta. The music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has solved the biggest problem of Stravinsky’s 1918 “Soldier’s Tale” by playing just the suite, without any of the narration which, frankly in this day and age, is rather beside the point. © 2016 The Buffalo News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

Three works from the early 1920’s came at a time when Stravinsky was entering into a stylistically new era that influenced others and designated as neo-classicism. They have remained very much on the outer edge of his popular concert repertoire, and he must have been conscious that his stage work, Histoire du soldat, with its use of actors and a dancer, could have its limitations. He later prepared a ‘Concert Suite’, but the result is like a torso without a head. It is that version we hear on this recording, the violin, which is at the centre of the story, played by the distinguished, Tianwa Yang. Three years later, in 1923, he completed the ballet, Les noces (The wedding), for four soloists, chorus and a percussion ensemble. In four sections it depicts a typical Russian wedding, and prior to this recording it had been performed as a ballet at the Virginia Arts Festival. These two substantial works surround a short three-movement Octet whose content includes a march, waltz, can-can and Russian dance. The Naxos catalogue already offers versions of all three works that have justly been described as benchmark performances from the conductor Robert Craft, and I am sure they will long continue to hold that position. For her part, JoAnn Falletta gives keenly observed readings that implicitly follow the composer’s dynamic markings, and she enjoys a very fine team of soloists in Les noces, particularly in the bass, Denis Sedov. The disc’s information does not give the provenance of the ensembles, but all three recordings started out as spin-offs from the Virginia Arts Festivals in 2013 and 2015. That would explain the differing sound levels between works, which, taken individually, are very lucid and of pleasing quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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