Stravinsky – Persephone

Andrew Staples, Finnish National Opera, Pauline Cheviller

19.9933.49
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Original Recording Format: DSD 64

Exclusives

Stravinsky’s Persephone (1934) is a dynamic music-theatrical narration of the myth of Persephone’s abduction to the underworld and return to earth. The transparent, sober but evocative music epitomizes Stravinsky’s sensuous take on Neoclassicism, and the piece showcases Stravinsky’s eclectic, original and highly personal approach to music and musical drama through a playful mixture of several genres melodrama, song, chorus, dance and pantomime. Ultimately, Persephone offers Stravinsky’s second ode to spring, albeit without the brutal excesses of Le Sacre.

This album was recorded live during the Helsinki Festival 2017 with a star cast featuring English tenor Andrew Staples and French actress Pauline Cheviller. They join forces with the Finnish National Opera’s chorus, children’s chorus and orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, in a breath-taking performance that lifts out the piece’s transformative power.

Tracklist

1.
Pt. 1 - Deesse aux mille noms, puissante Demeter
02:09
2.
Pt. 1 - Reste avec nous, princesse Persephone
05:45
3.
Pt. 1 - Persephone, un peuple t'attend
02:33
4.
Pt. 2 - O peuple douloureux des ombres, tu m'attires
04:11
5.
Pt. 2 - Sur ce lit elle repose
03:48
6.
Pt. 2 - Ma mere Demeter, que la vie etait belle
01:29
7.
Pt. 2 - Tu viens pour dominer
09:03
8.
Pt. 2 - Le printemps, c'est toi!
01:48
9.
Pt. 2 - Pauvres ombres desesperees
04:25
10.
Pt. 3 - C'est ainsi, nous raconte Homere
03:29
11.
Pt. 3 - Venez a nous, enfants des hommes
06:10
12.
Pt. 3 - Parle, Persephone, raconte
03:11
13.
Pt. 3 - Ainsi vers l'ombre souterraine
02:04

Total time: 00:50:05

Additional information

Label

SKU

PTC5186688

Qualities

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Channels

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Artists

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Composers

Genres

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Executive Producer

Renaud Loranger

Notes

NativeDSD selectively creates higher DSD bitrates of label's releases using two methods (Merging Technologies Album Publishing and Singnalyst HQPlayer Pro), depending on the original edited master source. In order to understand the processes, a bit of background is appropriate.  NativeDSD sells only recordings that were originally recorded in DSD or DXD (352.8KHz PCM). The overwhelming majority of these recordings were edited and post processed in DXD, then converted (modulated) into DSD deliverable bit rates. NativeDSD acquires the label's original DXD edited master, and using Merging Technologies Album Publishing, creates a first generation DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, as well as a DXD FLAC deliverable.  Additionally, on selected recordings, a 32bit PCM WAV file is extracted (the DXD PCM FLAC is 24 bits by format definition), and uses it to modulate a DSD512 using HQPlayer Pro.The exception to the above are the few label recordings (Yarlung, Eudora, Just Listen etc.) that record in DSD, and do no PCM post processing mixing, level balancing, EQ etc. That's doable by restricting post processing to just editing, where only the edit transition interval (typically 100ms or less) is PCM converted, leaving the DSD music content unaltered when rendered. For those recordings, the DSD edited master (the actual recording master with edits) is used with HQPlayer Pro to re-modulate the missing DSD bitrates.Why do any of this? It's to provide a DSD bitrate deliverable choice, allowing a customer to purchase the highest DSD bitrate their DAC will support.It's correct that there's no additional music content information contained in the higher DSD bit rate from the original DSD bitrate. What's different is the uncorrelated modulation noise content placement in the frequency spectrum. When a DSD original file is converted to DXD (PCM), the inherent DSD modulation noise is removed through the decimation filtering, and re-inserted when modulated back to DSD. The modulation noise (again, uncorrelated) is the carrier part of the DSD bitstream modulation, and an inherent part of the DSD bit stream.

 

While the spectorial shape is the same regardless of the DSD bitrate, it's effective start and end points move an octave higher for every doubling of the DSD bitrate. For DSD64, the uncorrelated modulation noise is about -110dB at 20KHz, rising to about -50dB at 100KHz. For DSD512, the modulation noise is about -110dB at 160KHz, and -50dB at 800KHz. What this allows is for the customer's DAC to use gentler, more Gaussian shaped reconstruction filters, with far improved phase response.

Conductors

Original Recording Format

Producer

Everett Porter & Kalsa Joustle

Recording Engineer

Everett Porter & Antti Pohjola

Recording location

Recorded Live During Helsinki Festival 2017 at Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Helsinki by Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle on August 11, 2017

Recording Type & Bit Rate

DSD 64

Release Date August 16, 2018

Press reviews

The Guardian [Album of the Week] 5 out of 5

Radiant beauty is not a quality that is automatically associated with Stravinsky’s music. But in Perséphone, the “melodrama” for tenor, female narrator, chorus, children’s chorus and large orchestra that he completed in 1934 to a text by André Gide, he composed one of the most radiant and lyrically beautiful scores to be found anywhere in 20th-century music. It’s one of Stravinsky’s greatest achievements, and alongside his opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex, one of the high points of his neoclassical period, though perhaps because of the forces it requires and its curious hybrid nature – part ballet, part cantata – performances and recordings have always been rare.

Perséphone was written for the dancer Ida Rubinstein, who had already commissioned Stravinsky’s Tchaikovsky-based ballet Le Baiser de la Fée six years earlier. Rubinstein both danced and spoke the title role at the Paris premiere, which was not well received. Gide’s text puts a Christian spin on Homer’s original story; instead of being abducted and raped by Pluto, Perséphone goes down to Hades of her own volition, out of pity for the lost souls of the underworld. But the text is a discursive patchwork of short episodes, and Gide also objected to the way in which Stravinsky set his jewelled words; the two parted with the composer accusing the writer of “a complete absence of rapport, which obviously originated in your attitude.”

But the extraordinary thing about Perséphone is how the score as a whole utterly transcends the dramatic shortcomings of the text, as well as its own stylistic unevenness. There’s choral writing and narrative passages for the solo tenor, who takes the role of the priest Eumolpus, that seem both to hark back to the French classicism of Gluck and to echo elements of the Russian Orthodox liturgy, alongside other moments that almost recall Offenbach and even Massenet.

As Esa-Pekka Salonen’s beautifully modulated performance demonstrates, however, those inconsistencies do not matter at all when the music is unfolded with such meticulous attention to detail. Nothing is forced, and all the elements, sung, played and spoken, are integrated so carefully. Salonen conducted the score in London two years ago with the same tenor soloist, Andrew Staples, and the same Francophone narrator, Pauline Cheviller, as on this recording, which stems from a concert performance at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki a year ago. There are moments when the sound of the orchestra seems recessed slightly too far behind the voices, but every morsel of detail in the scoring, which uses a large orchestra with chamber music-like fastidiousness, is there, and glowing.

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