Masaaki Suzuki: Stravinsky, Pulcinella Suite / Apollon Musagète / Concerto for Strings


Rather like the other classical CDs this week, we suspect that because we like this, purists may well have something to harp on about. Suzuki is an expert on Bach — he is recording the complete choral works of Bach, as well as Bach’s concertos, orchestral suites, and solo works for harpsichord and organ — so perhaps he’s turned to Stravinsky for some light relief.

The opening piece is The Pulcinella Suite, from a ballet and based on an 18th-century play — Pulcinella is who we call Punch. It’s a lively and jolly piece, with the Vivo being even comical.

The longest work is Apollo, also from a ballet, which centres on Apollo, the Greek god of music, who is visited by the Muses Terpsichore, Polyhymnia and Calliope. It is a calm and serene piece, and apparently was first performed with monochrome costumes for the dancers and no elaborate scenery.

After the serene ballet, the closing piece Concerto in D is livelier, making this an enjoyable collection of music. Its easiness on the ear perhaps makes its lack of edge a downer for purists but if you don’t want to work hard for your music, it’s enjoyable. Which is what it’s supposed to be….

Out on BIS, 2211, and it’s a SACD.

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