This is a release by the label Columbia and part of the SONY 10 CD box. The CDs are printed too look like the original LP, even the paper slip is a copy of the LP cover. A nice touch.
I thought I would be a good idea to start out with a couple of reference recordings that can be used to compare with later. Who better to interpret the work than the creator himself? But Stravinsky composed the rite of spring when he was 30 and was almost 80 when he recorded this. A lot can happen in 50 years.
Sound is generally good, especially given the age of the recording. Soundstage is fairly big and instruments well separated, it is easy to follow different instruments even in busy passages. Timbre is generally good. The bass drum is actually very good, but for some reason it is not allowed to shine as much as I would have liked, either the conductor’s decision or the recording engineer’s.
Artistically it might be sacrilegious to give less than a 5, but this is not the best version I have heard. The first part is good but especially the procession of the sage and the beginning of the dance of the earth lacks some drive. The second part also starts out very well, but many of the more dramatic passages especially the last sacrificial dance is a little disappointing, I have heard other versions with more energy and savagery. It is interesting to hear that Stravinsky’s way of balancing instruments and articulate is somewhat different than what could be called the standard in some places. Runtime is 31:35, which is on the quicker side.
A good, but not great, version. Recommended as a reference since it is the man himself conducting after all.
King of the bass drum: 3