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|Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (No. 2) / Pulcinella Suite / Fairy's Kiss- Divertimento
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|Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Firebird Suite; Fireworks (RCA Victor Basic 100, Vol. 8)
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|Telarc Collection 8
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|Stravinsky: Piano Works - Michel Béroff (2 CD Box Set) (EMI)
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|Brahms / Stravinsky: Violin Concertos
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Hilary Hahn is not only one of the best, but one of the most interesting young violinists before the public. Even as a teenager, she seemed uninterested in displaying her formidable technical mastery, concentrating instead on the music with a seriousness far beyond her years. Now 21, she has become a thoughtful, knowledgeable musician and an arresting, involved performer. Both qualities are reflected in this recording, beginning with the choice of the two concertos, which are entirely dissimilar--except for being in the same key--yet make an excellent pair, and extending to the program notes, which blend personal reminiscence and scholarly research.
As for the playing, it is extraordinary. Technical difficulties do not exist. Even the most daunting passages, like the infamous G-major section in the Finale of the Brahms and the wild running-around in the Stravinsky, are dispatched with perfect clarity and consummate, effortless ease. Hahn's tone is intense, focused, variable, and of pristine purity in all registers, at all dynamic levels. She never loses her sense of meter or direction; her phrases have shape and elegance; and she needs no external effects. Her playing is austere and controlled, with an inward, noble expressiveness; she can change tone and mood on a dime. In the Brahms, the high soaring passages are ecstatic, the Finale is quite fast and very strict; only the Joachim cadenza is almost too free. Altogether, it's a most impressive achievement. --Edith Eisler
|Greatest Hits: Stravinsky
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Igor Stravinsky ~ Greatest Hits
|The Art Of The Theremin
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In 1927, two remarkable people arrived in the United States after lengthy and successful tours of Europe: Lev Sergeivitch Termen (anglicized to Leon Theremin) and Clara Rockmore (whose maiden name was Clara Reisenberg). Theremin was a young Russian physicist who was demonstrating a new musical instrument that he invented. The instrument was played by the motion of the musician's hands in the space surrounding the instrument. Clara Rockmore, a professional violinist from the age of 9, became aware of the musical potential of Theremin's invention. She spent several years collaborating with Theremin during which time he developed his invention into a sensitive, wide-range musical instrument. Clara subsequently embarked on a performance career that encompassed well over a hundred concerts, including appearances with major symphony orchestras, and set the definitive standard for theremin performance technique.
To play the theremin, the performer stands in front of the instrument, a little left of center. The feet are spread slightly to keep the body as motionless as possible. To determine the pitch of the instrument's tone, the player varies the distance between her right hand and the pitch antenna. When the instrument is properly tuned, the pitch goes from lower than two octaves below middle C when the player's right hand is back at her shoulder, to approximately 2 1/2 octaves above middle C when the player's hand barely touches the pitch antenna. To determine the loudness of the instrument's tone, the player varies the distance between her left hand and the middle of the volume antenna. Maximum loudness occurs when the hand is removed from the antenna; complete silence occurs when the hand is an inch or so from the loop.
The thereminist must move her hands with incredible precision as well as speed if she wishes to play distinct notes with correct intonation. Ms. Rockmore actually uses fingering patterns to play the most rapid passages. For instance, if she were to play an upward arpeggio, she would start on the lowest note with right hand tilted back and fingers withdrawn. To play the next note she would abruptly move her hand forward from the wrist, while keeping her right arm motionless. The third note would be played by rapidly extending the little finger, and the fourth note by extending one or two more fingers while simultaneously turning the wrist sideways to bring the newly-extended fingers nearer to the pitch antenna. She would then continue the arpeggio by moving her whole arm closer to the pitch antenna while drawing her hand and fingers back, then repeating the above-described succession of movements. At the same time, she may articulate each individual pitch by rapidly shooting the fingers of her left hand into the volume antenna loop, then withdrawing them, to silence the tone during the very short periods of time that her right hand moves from one pitch to another. No other theremin player has ever mastered this difficult and intricate technique for playing rapid successions of precise pitches - "aerial fingering" as one reviewer termed it.
|First Steps in Classical Music: Keeping the Beat
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Brand: Gia Publications, Inc.
2001 GIA PRODUCTIONS CD
|Stravinsky: Rite of Spring; Fireworks; Petrouchka
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The Boston Symphony was at the peak of its powers when it engaged the 34-year-old Seiji Ozawa for this 1969 recording of Petrushka, in which the orchestra's then 24-year-old assistant conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, played the extensive solo piano part. Ozawa, in those years, was capable of striking sparks with any orchestra he faced, and there is a palpable sense of excitement to the Petrushka he uncorks here. The accounts of The Rite of Spring and Fireworks, recorded in 1968 with the Chicago Symphony, are equally dynamic and colorful. BMG's long-awaited 24/96 remastering unleashes the breathtakingly open sound of the original tapes for the first time on CD, and may require a volume cut to preserve peace with the neighbors. --Ted Libbey
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