Ansermet/OSR: Stravinsky Petrouchka - French Decca LXT 5425
Jacket VG / LP NM-
This beautiful LP from French Decca (LXT 5425, French pressing, orange/silver label, mono, original inner sleeve included) features Ernest Ansermet's brilliantly characterized realization of Stravinsky's Petrouchka (vers. 1947), recorded in the glowing acoustics of Geneva's Victoria Hall in 1957 with l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande on pungent and glittering form.
Ansermet knew Stravinsky well and had conducted these scores almost since their inception. He brought a lifetime's wisdom and experience to this score and the results are electrifying, marked by a tremendous sense of occasion and inner frisson.
So many endless apologies are made for the supposed short-comings of the Suisse Romande Orchestra that a critical bias has nearly rendered their every Decca recording an also-ran. These ‘faults’ have been greatly exaggerated, and how well they play against the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is less important than how well they play Stravinsky.
And they play this music superbly, and for this listener at least, Ansermet’s versions are touchstone performances that refresh one's appreciation of these Stravinsky masterworks.
Incidentally, the memorable cover art was executed by Ivan Bottiau. There are insightful liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket by Gustave Samazeluilh, printed in French only.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is a small ¼" tear to the spine, as well as minor corner wear. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, or owners' markings and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and very striking in appearance – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Though the surfaces are not perfectly silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.