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Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex & Apollon musagète


Stravinsky: Oedipus Res & Apollon musagete

Stravinsky: Oedipus Res & Apollon musagete

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conductor

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the LSO on this his first release for LSO Live, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Apollon musagète. Also featured on the release are the Gentlemen of the Monteverdi Choir, considered one of the world’s leading choirs, and a mix of international and home-grown soloists including Jennifer Johnston and Stuart Skelton. French actress Fanny Ardant, who has appeared in over 50 motion pictures, takes the role of narrator.

Oedipus Rex and Apollon musagète are both ancient Greek themed works by Stravinsky. The rich string harmonies and textures in the ballet score of Apollon musagète are pleasantly mesmerizing, expressive and calmly indulgent. In contrast, the dramatic and hauntingly compelling opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex is composed of an assemblage of monumental and powerful sounds, such as playful woodwinds, robust brass and agile strings, with magnificent vocals from the choir and soloists.

Price: £8.99

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Concert Reviews 

‘An electrifying LSO performance under John Eliot Gardiner, who obtained razor-sharp rhythms and cracked-ice wind and brass sonorities from his players’ The Evening Standard (UK)

**** 'Stuart Skelton was the suavely plausible Oedipus, perfectly calibrating his change from swaggering self-confidence, to horror-struck despair. Jennifer Johnson was a formidable Jocasta, venomously spitting out her dismissal of the oracles while Gardiner thrillingly energised the cascading wind instruments beneath her; Gidon Saks was an oleaginous Creon, ratcheting the drama up another notch in his only aria. Not a single dramatic detail was missed; Gardiner ensured that everything was vividly present and straight to the dramatic point.' The Guardian (UK)

CD Reviews

Critic’s Choice ‘An unusual approach to Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex comes with the declamation most eloquently delivered by the French film star Fanny Ardant; but it works well, in a performance more expressive than usual for this work by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, coupled with a graceful, dance-suffused Apollon Musagète.’ Gramophone

‘Gardiner is entirely convincing, and his Apollo goes to the top of my list.’ American Record Guide (USA)

“It makes sense that the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, a pioneer of the early music movement, and the impressive Monteverdi Choir, founded by Mr. Gardner in 1964, would have a special feeling for the old-world musical elements of “Oedipus Rex,” all of which come through on this gripping recording taken from live performances with the London Symphony Orchestra last year.” The New York Times (US)

“With its unflagging direction, its strong sense of drama and its mostly impeccable singing, Gardiner is a serious contender for anyone wanting a version to put alongside the classic versions.” International Record Review (UK)

“Gardiner captures to the full the searing drama underlying the work's stylized exterior, and from the thrilling attack of the opening chorus the listener is gripped by the power of his interpretation of this masterpiece. The LSO are in magnificent form – their incisive brass, skeltering woodwind and weighty percussion thrillingly captured by the recording." (UK)

"So just how does the founder of the Monteverdi Choir deal with Stravinsky? In a word, admirably! Here, the listener immediately senses what great care Gardiner has taken with this performance, with no detail left untouched. The LSO strings are warmly resonant with the ensemble achieving a fine of sense of balance in the ten contrasting movements.” The Whole Note (US)

“A truly incisive and sinewy performance that secures and locates all the austere beauty of the work.” Classical Cd Choice (UK)

**** “If Oedipus Rex reveals the spectacular side of the LSO, then the orchestra's strings show finesse in Apollon Musagete.” The New Zealand Herald (NZ)

“Factor in tight, crisp playing by the LSO, the fine Jocasta of Jennifer Johnston and subtle string colouring in Apollon Musagète, and it adds up to a fine celebration.” Yorkshire Post Music Critic (UK)

‘John Eliot Gardiner's version is something different, a trim, brisk flight that even on occasion (as in the solo "Non reperias") flirts with playfulness.’ Opera News (US)


Sir John Eliot Gardiner conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

Stuart Skelton Oedipus 
Gidon Saks Creon 
Fanny Ardant Narrator
David Shipley Tiresias 
Gareth Treseder Shepherd 
Alexander Ashworth Messenger

Recording Details

SACD/digital LSO0751 (822231175124)

Nicholas Parker, producer & editor

Jonathan Stokes for Classic Sound Ltd, recording, mixing & mastering

High-definition audio recording, live at the Barbican, 25 April and 1 May 2013

Stereo and multi-channel 5.0
Total playing time 79m13s

Jewel case with 32pp booklet. Notes in English, French and German. Oedipus Rex – libretto in Latin with French narration. English translations.

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