Dorati/Minneapolis SO: Le sacre du printemps (rec. 1953) - Pye · Mercury MRL 2006
Jacket GOOD / LP VERY GOOD / UK pressing
This fine LP – note the striking cover art – from Pye · Mercury (MRL 2006, English pressing, red/silver label, mono – no stereo edition exists, laminated flipback jacket) features Antal Dorati's first commercial recording of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (The rite of spring), made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on blazing form in the ample acoustics of Northrup Auditorium, Minneapolis, during 12-14 December 1953.
Wrote the critic T.H. in his review for the March 1955 issue of The Gramophone: "It was only just over 40 years ago that this score shocked its first audiences and caused more of a rumpus than, I suppose, any other has ever done. Yet there are now five different recordings to be had—it has almost joined the ranks of Beethoven symphonies and such-like established classics ! It seems to me that the way this score has worn (and how exceedingly well it wears) should warn the detractors of Stravinsky's later works to be at least a little cautious.
"This new version is a good reading of the music, the orchestral playing is brilliant indeed, and the recording I think easily the best of the lot. It even beats the Capitol production (Steinberg) which, good though it is, does have a little too much resonance. I still think that Stravinsky's own performance (Columbia) is the best but unfortunately it is nothing like the best recording. But nobody makes the Dance of the Adolescents sound as he does, to mention one thing only. It is done by getting far better accents and better rhythm, just that. Here this new performance falls some way behind, especially in the power of its rhythm in this dance. But taking an overall view it is an exciting performance and the playing and the recording put it, I think, at the top of the list."
Incidentally, on the reverse side of the jacket are excellent liner notes – printed in English only – by Arthur Berger. The front cover art is credited to Williams.
CONDITION – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the laminated flipback jacket is GOOD. There is some fraying and chipping to the open edge of the jacket. Elsewhere, there is bumping/wear at corners, creasing, and a tear to the rear panel. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, owners' marking, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and very attractive – overall, a decent collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is VERY GOOD. Though there is light surface noise throughout, in general the playback remains enjoyable. However, those wanting a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as a very good collector's copy. Also, please note: There is some sort of owner's or radio station ink stamp to both labels, but overall this remains a good collector's copy.