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Album review: Hans Rosbaud, Stravinsky: Agon (Wergo)


Agon is one of Stravinsky's more extreme excursions into pure, plotless, abstract ballet, with neither story nor characters to hinder the choreographer.

Instead, Stravinsky uses 17th-century dances like the gaillarde and branle as his chief inspiration, with horns and woodwind signifying movement of male and female dancers respectively, and harp and mandolin textures and scuttling percussion conveying a fluid whirl of motion, despite the various dance styles and the abrupt changes in tone and timbre. Though less than half an hour long, there is more musical action here than in most operas, ably marshalled by Hans Rosbaud in this 1957 performance with the Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks Baden-Baden.

Download: Agon