Album review: Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (EMI Classics)


Released to mark the centennial anniversary of its explosive premiere, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker's Rite of Spring is instantly engrossing from the opening woodwind flourishes.

From there it's a whirlwind of dynamic contrasts, challenging the pagan gaiety of the Dudamel/SBYO version in its intensity. But it's programmed with two later Stravinsky works, the Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Apollon Musagète, in which similar folk-based materials and mythopoeic themes are fashioned into more sedate pieces whose congruent sonorities all but reject the modernist primitivism that made the composer's reputation, in favour of a more Romantic approach that is hugely disappointing.

Download: Le Sacre du Printemps