Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, Petrushka, Fireworks

History’s final verdict on Igor Stravinsky is not yet in, but it’s a safe bet that the early scores — most of all the flamboyant, innovative ballets that turned pre-World War I Paris on its collective ear — will surely abide in the pantheon of masterworks. Another safe bet is that in most cases Stravinsky did not serve himself well as interpreter of his own works; a recent 22-disc boxed set of Stravinsky’s own recorded legacy, on Sony Classical, is a sad, dry-as-dust testimonial to the composer’s own skill at self-destruction. David Zinman has built the Baltimore Symphony into a major American ensemble, and in Stravinsky restores the juice — the slashing colors and rhythmic vibrance — that sent Stravinsky’s fame sky-high. Zinman has made wise choices here: the 1919 version of ”The Firebird” (a gorgeously orchestrated suite of only the best moments, rather than the complete score, which droops now and then) and Stravinsky’s sharp-edged 1947 reworking of ”Petrushka.” The result serves Stravinsky far better than Stravinsky himself ever did. A

Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, Petrushka, Fireworks
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