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

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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.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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