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Los Angeles Philharmonic (Salonen) – ‘Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Los Angeles Philharmonic (Salonen) – ‘Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

A debt has been paid. In 1938, cartoon mogul Walt Disney approached Igor Stravinsky and offered to pay to use the composer’s famous ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’ (“Le Sacre du Printemps” in its original French title) in his animated film ‘Fantasia’. Before Stravinsky could dismiss the idea outright, Disney quickly pointed out that the actual score – originally published in Russia – was not covered by United States copyright laws. In other words, take a token payment and smile or else I’ll use it anyway and pay you nothing. Stravinsky smiled through gritted teeth and took the token payment. He couldn’t even maintain the smile when Disney and conductor Leopold Stokowski cut the piece down to less than half its original size and paired it up with cartoon images of dinosaurs. But he had little choice. So Stravinsky devoted himself to putting out revised versions of the orchestrations of his early ballets so that the new versions would be under copyright. Now, almost seventy years later, Disney’s debt is being repaid in handsome manner. The first recording to come out of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s brand-new Walt Disney Concert Hall features a performance of the ‘Rite’ for the twenty-first century, complete in its revised orchestration, with nary a dinosaur in sight. This disc also marks Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft’s welcome return to releasing classical multichannel Super Audio Compact Discs after a hiatus when they appeared to give up on the format. Let us hope that this release signifies DGG’s acknowledgement that a solid niche market has developed for high-resolution multichannel sound, despite all the gloom ‘n’ doom predictions which were rife a couple of years ago. read more…

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