April has been a big music month so far and is about to get bigger. I’ll have articles published soon on the Andriessen events, this year’s MATA festival and a very special concert dedicated to the legacy of Vivian Perlis, as well as a bunch of CD reviews. But I just wanted to pass on some interesting items from the Russian Stravinsky festival, which has now began, and promises to be huge in every way. The Phil has streaming audio available on their website of Stravinsky leading the orchestra in a 1946 performance of his Symphony in Three Movements. The sound quality is limited, of course, but decent, the performance is blistering. This symphony is one of his lesser-known masterpieces, and although he was a limited conductor, he always brought out the best in this piece. It’s a great listen especially if you’re only familiar with the early, Russian ballets.
And, here’s video of the composer leading the Phil in the Firebird. Along with being arguably the greatest artist of the past 150 years, Stravinsky loved to make his royalties and fees, and often booked himself as conductor to for the extra cash. You can see he didn’t have much in the way of skills, but with a good orchestra that didn’t need a technical direction, he could bring out strong and unique performances.