August 9, 2009

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(Igor Stravinsky - Well. . . there was that little fracas in Boston)

Not performed all that much, but no less an important work in the Stravinsky opus. The Greek tragedy Persephone was the basis of a poem by Andre Gide and later set to music by Stravinsky in 1933 during his Paris years and staged by Ida Rubenstein. It was later translated into English in 1948 and performed as a ballet by Martha Graham, and in more recent years by George Balanchine. But there have been relatively few performances since.

But this particular recording remains kind of a mystery. The Belgian Conductor Andre Cluytens has enjoyed a huge popularity throughout the musical community. And since his death in 1967, his records have been actively sought by collectors and most of his work (commercial and broadcast) have been reissued by various labels over the years. Except this one.

Why? I can't tell you. Perhaps there were legal issues, maybe Stravinsky didn't like the recording, maybe the masters were destroyed - any one of a number of scenarios. Or it could be no one has gotten around to reissuing it.

Regardless - this is an extraordinary recording and one I've played hundreds of times throughout my life.

Some details - Nicolai Gedda, Tenor - Claude Nollier, narrator - The Choir of Paris University conducted by Jean Gitton. Orchestra of the Paris Conservatory, Andre Cluytens, conductor.

Recorded in Paris - December 1955.

The rest is up to you.

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