Litton/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra 2008
Today it is exactly 110 years since the premier of the Rite of Spring. I have saved one of my favorites recordings for today. The BIS engineers have done a fantastic job here. The soundstage is wide, every instrument is clearly audible no matter how busy the music is and the timbre is almost perfect. The dynamic range is nothing short of sensational. I usually judge the recordings using very good headphones but sometimes I also use my loudspeakers. I actually had to turn down the volume because our windows in the living room started to rattle because of the bass drum. Speaking of the bass drum it is amazing. Not only is it loud, it is very tight. The initial whack and following rumble is captured without even a hint of muddiness. My opinion on the artistic quality might be affected by the exceptional sound. Every little detail is heard. Litton do vary tempo and loudness in a very interesting way. I am truly captured by the music. I had Maazel as my go-to version before, but I do prefer this Litton version. There are some very minor things I think others do better, the brass could be slightly more prominent in the sacrificial dance and the final crescendo of the orchestra phrased a bit different e.g., but all in all near perfect.
Bass drum: 5!