Stravinsky - Petrushka & Jeu de cartes (2018)

Stravinsky

Mariinsky Orchestra

Valery Gergiev

The Mariinsky Label presents Valery Gergiev’s first recording of Stravinsky’s iconic Petrushka score, paired with one of the composer’s hidden gems, the witty Jeu de cartes.

Stravinsky’s score to Petrushka is one of his most celebrated works and a product of his famous collaboration with Diaghilev that also produced The Firebird and Rite of Spring. Presented here in the composer’s original 1911 version, it tells the story of the loves and jealousies of three puppets who are brought to life during the 1830 Shrovetide Fair in Saint Petersburg. Its colourful music typifies Stravinsky’s work during the period and is characterised by the famous bitonal ‘Petrushka chord’.

A ballet in ‘three deals’, 1937’s Jeu de cartes stems from Stravinsky’s life-long enthusiasm for cards; poker in particular. A commission by Lincoln Kirstein and his newly formed American Ballet Company, it was composed during Stravinsky’s neoclassical period. The whimsical music focuses on the deceitful Joker who thinks himself unbeatable, thanks to a chameleon-like ability to become any card. During the work the Joker wages battle with other hands, but after two victorious rounds and the appearance of a third, he is vanquished by a Royal Flush of Hearts. Stravinsky regularly read La Fontaine during the composition of Jeu de cartes, choosing this quote to include in the score: ‘We must wage continual war against the wicked. Peace in itself is a fine thing, I agree, but what use can it be with enemies who do not keep their word?’

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Mariinsky Orchestra

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra or the Kirov Orchestra is located in the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The orchestra was founded in 1783 during the reign of Catherine the Great, it was known before the revolution as the Russian Imperial Opera Orchestra. The orchestra is one of the oldest musical institutions in Russia.

In 1935 Joseph Stalin changed its name (and that of the Ballet) to the Kirov, after Sergei Kirov, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Leningrad, whose 1934 murder by his regime Stalin was attempting to whitewash. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the name was changed back to the Mariinsky in 1992.

The current artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre is the conductor Valery Gergiev and the principal guest conductor is Nikolaj Znaider. Under Gergiev, the Mariinsky Orchestra has become one of the leading symphony orchestras in Russia.

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival (St Petersburg), the Moscow Easter Festival, the Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution. Born in Moscow, he studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory, won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors’ Competition aged 24, and made his Mariinsky Opera debut one year later conducting Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2003 he led St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations, and opened the Carnegie Hall season with the Mariinsky Orchestra,the first Russian conductor to do so since Tchaikovsky conducted the Hall’s inaugural concert in 1891. Valery Gergiev’s many awards include a Grammy, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask Award, People’s Artist of Russia Award, and France’s Royal Order of the Legion of Honour. His vast discography includes Russian operas, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky Symphonies, and numerous discs on the LSO Live and Mariinsky labels, including a Mahler Symphony cycle, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Wagner’s Parsifal, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and a disc of Debussy’s music.

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Stravinsky - Petrushka & Jeu de cartes (2018)

Stravinsky

Mariinsky Orchestra

    MusicWeb International

Riveting performances, very well played and recorded; Gergiev at his very best.

Dan Morgan[read full review]

    MusicWeb International

(...) Here the Mariinsky players have a field day and coupled with a very good surround recording indeed the result is a most enjoyable listen. Gergiev is on good form in these exciting concert performances. The detailing so necessary in Stravinsky's complex writing is carefully moulded. Both pieces set the feet tapping - though you could do with more than two feet to tap out some of it! I particularly welcome Jeu de Cartes which is a great example of the neoclassical Stravinsky and a ballet that is less often performed in the concert hall than Petrushka. There are of course lots of alternatives for both but none are noticeably better played or have better recordings than here.

Dave Billinge[read full review]

Stravinsky - Petrushka & Jeu de cartes (2018)

Stravinsky

Mariinsky Orchestra

Producer: James Mallinson, Vladimir Ryabenko
Recording Engineer: Vladimir Ryabenko
Recording location: Recorded at Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg 14 January 2014 (Petrushka) / 26, 29 & 31 December 2009 (Jeu de cartes)

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MAR0594: Stravinsky - Petrushka & Jeu de cartes
00:57:43   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Petrushka - First Scene: I. The Shrovetide Fair (Introduction)
Stravinsky
00:01:25   Select quality & channels above
2.
Petrushka - First Scene: II. The Crowds
Stravinsky
00:04:07   Select quality & channels above
3.
Petrushka - First Scene: III. The Conjuring Trick
Stravinsky
00:01:57   Select quality & channels above
4.
Petrushka - First Scene: IV. Russian Dance
Stravinsky
00:02:40   Select quality & channels above
5.
Petrushka - Second Scene: I. Petrushka's Cell
Stravinsky
00:04:45   Select quality & channels above
6.
Petrushka - Third Scene: I. The Moor's Cell
Stravinsky
00:03:02   Select quality & channels above
7.
Petrushka - Third Scene: II. Dance of the Ballerina
Stravinsky
00:00:48   Select quality & channels above
8.
Petrushka - Third Scene: III. Waltz (The Ballerina and the Moor)
Stravinsky
00:03:22   Select quality & channels above
9.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: I. The Shrovetide Fair (towards evening)
Stravinsky
00:01:09   Select quality & channels above
10.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: II. Dance of the Wet-Nurses
Stravinsky
00:02:17   Select quality & channels above
11.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: III. A Peasant Enters with a Bear
Stravinsky
00:01:48   Select quality & channels above
12.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: IV. The Gypsy Girls Dance
Stravinsky
00:00:56   Select quality & channels above
13.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: V. Dance of the Coachmen and Grooms
Stravinsky
00:01:59   Select quality & channels above
14.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: VI. The Mummers
Stravinsky
00:02:16   Select quality & channels above
15.
Petrushka - Fourth Scene: VII. Petrushka's Death
Stravinsky
00:02:55   Select quality & channels above
16.
Jeu de cartes - I. First Deal
Stravinsky
00:05:41   Select quality & channels above
17.
Jeu de cartes - II. Second Deal
Stravinsky
00:09:16   Select quality & channels above
18.
Jeu de cartes - III. Third Deal
Stravinsky
00:07:20   Select quality & channels above

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