Reiner/CSO: Lt. Kije Suite + Le chant du rossignol - RCA VICS-1290 (UK)

$5.00 USD

RCA (LP)

Jacket VG / LP NM

This outstanding LP from RCA (VICS-1290, UK Decca pressing, pink label, stereo, original inner sleeve included) features Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s high-octane and evocative accounts of Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije and Stravinsky’s Le Chant du Rossignol, both recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of Orchestra Hall, Chicago, the former on 2 March 1957 and the latter on 3 November 1956.

The exact track list is as follows:

Prokofiev

A1

The Birth of Kije

4:09

A2

Romance

4:22

A3

Kije's Wedding

2:44

A4

Troika

2:36

A5

The Burial of Kije

6:04

Stravinsky

B1

Song of the Nightingale

22:15

Of an RCA SACD re-issue that paired Reiner’s Scheherazade with The Song of the Nightingale heard here, the wonderful critic and author David Hurwitz wrote in his 10/10 review for ClassicsToday:

I listen in awe of these performances, whose luster hasn't dimmed one iota in the passing decades. Aside from the fact that Fritz Reiner's Scheherazade remains one of the most physically exciting versions available, with playing of breathtaking virtuosity in the finale, the contributions of the orchestra's wind soloists in the two inner movements are absolutely radiant and brimming with character. There may be versions as good as this, but it remains a touchstone interpretation in every respect.


If anything, this observation is even more true of the Stravinsky, where in addition to the phenomenal playing, Reiner brings a transparency to the tuttis and a shapeliness of phrasing to the work's latter stages that puts most other versions in the shade. This piece is usually very problematic, in that it tends to fall apart into seemingly unrelated episodes, beginning with a bang and ending with a whimper. Not here. Reiner sees its entire 22 minutes whole, sustaining the long narrative thread from first note to last. Sonically, whether in 3-channel SACD sound or regular stereo, these recordings represent the finest that the Living Stereo engineers were achieving in the mid-1950s and early '60s, which is to say that they remain, like the performances themselves, a standard by which all others are still measured. Magnificent!”

This album was produced by Richard Mohr and engineered by Lewis Layton.

Incidentally, there are insightful liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket by Irving Kolodin, Music Editor of the Saturday Review – printed in English only. The lovely cover art is uncredited.

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