Author Topic: Stravinsky's Agon  (Read 4587 times)

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Offline Guido

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Stravinsky's Agon
« on: April 24, 2008, 09:38:57 AM »
I have listened to this a few times in my Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky boxed set, and I like the piece, but I get the feeling that this is not one of the better recordings in there. Could people recommend another version with better sound?
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2008, 10:02:20 AM »
Thanks James. I will come back to Stravinsky recording afterwords, but I would like to get to know it in modern sound.
Geologist.

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karlhenning

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 10:15:06 AM »
Well, and a little disappointingly (considering it's players from the Cleveland Orchestra) quite a bit of detail ended up mismanaged in the "Stravinsky's Own" box performance of Agon (one of my few signal disappointments in the box).  So it is not just modern sound which is at issue, Guido.

I haven't heard the Craft, though I should guess it is good, judging by other Craft recordings I do know.

Edit :: typo
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 10:34:59 AM by karlhenning »

Offline Guido

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2008, 10:20:26 AM »
So the slight fuzzyness is Stravinsky's fault?
Geologist.

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karlhenning

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 10:36:44 AM »
So the slight fuzzyness is Stravinsky's fault?

No, he was always impeccably soigné.

Offline Todd

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 11:27:51 AM »
Michael Tilson Thomas' recording is superb, as is Craft's.  It's hard to go wrong with either recording. 

I find Stravinsky's own quite good as well.  Another excellent recording is Hans Rosbaud's, but his is in (very good) mono and is part of a larger box, so that may rule it out for some.
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Offline dirkronk

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 01:06:09 PM »
My own favorite is one that I can hardly defend against rivals, since I haven't heard all that many renditions of Agon, but I was actually introduced to the piece by Mravinsky's version on Melodiya (in the first box of the Mravinsky Edition on CD). When I first heard it, I was so used to that conductor whipping the orchestra into a frenzy (in most pieces) that his beautiful way with this music rather took me aback...but ultimately made me love it. YMMV, of course.

Dirk

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 08:27:33 PM »
Agreed, Rosbaud's Agon is very fine.


 



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bwv 1080

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 09:03:38 PM »
Stravinsky's recording is too slow for me and the ensemble is not as tight as it could be.  The Craft recording is much better

Offline MDL

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2008, 10:46:38 PM »
I seem to remember that Salonen's recording got a good review, but I've not heard it. I've got two performances: Stravinsky's own, which I hadn't realised was regarded as a bit of a dud until now, and Ashkenazy's with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin on Decca which I picked up cheap, even though it had been criticised for being slightly sluggish. Looks like I'll have to pick up the Craft/Naxos recording. Thanks for the recommendation, everyone.

Offline Guido

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2008, 03:51:09 PM »
I've just picked up the Naxos Carft recording with Apollo and Orpheus, which seems like a friggin steal. Hopefully it will arrive soon. Thanks all for the recommendations.
Geologist.

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Mark G. Simon

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2008, 07:57:02 PM »
MTT's recording on "Stravinsky in America" is top-notch.

I got to know the piece from the Erich Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony recording on RCA. It doesn't seem to have made it to CD, but if you can find the vinyl, this one is definitely worth it. It's paired with Gunther Schuller's Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee.

Sean

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2008, 08:10:36 PM »
It's a difficult if subtle pseudo serial effort, patched up with elegant scoring.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2008, 10:41:02 PM »
It's a difficult if subtle pseudo serial effort, patched up with elegant scoring.
Isn't elegant scoring a given with Stravinsky (and in particular the late works)?

Sean

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2008, 07:05:31 PM »
I guess so. The obviously neoclassical works are perhaps more turgid in sound...

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2008, 07:44:10 PM »
One of the best audio-only recordings is the Atherton, coupled with a not-so-good Berg Chamber Concerto. But as I say whenever this marvelous fruit of Stravinsky's old age is discussed, you cannot have experienced the work in all its dimensions unless you see it with the Balanchine choreography. When originally performed this ballet was such a triumph that six extra performances had to be added. Unfortunately there's no complete video recording commercially available, but on one of the DVD's devoted to Balanchine's career, there is an excerpt from the slow central pas de deux danced by Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell from the original cast.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Guido

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2008, 07:11:32 AM »
So is this piece considered as good as say, Canticum Sacrum or Requiem Canticles among his late period works?
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2008, 08:09:38 AM »
Excellent - I look forward to getting to know it better. I am far from getting through everything in that boxed set, but my favourite thus far are the concerto and sonata for two pianos, Requiem Canticles, Symphony of Psalms, Dumbarton Oaks, Apollo, Firebird, Petroushka and The Rite of Spring (the last of these my favourite by quite a large margin).
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2008, 08:22:55 AM »
Speaking as a avid fan of Stravinsky Guido, I'd say it's one of the very best in his entire oeuvre.

Absolutely.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline The new erato

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Re: Stravinsky's Agon
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2008, 10:26:45 AM »
I think the late Stravinsky works are among the most neglected parts of ANY major, established composers work. Recordings by major artists on the big labels are very farbetween.

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