Reviews: Igor Stravinsky: The Fairy's Kiss
The MHS Review 401, VOL. 12, NO.5 • 1988
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Donald R. Vroon, American Record Guide, (March/April 1988)
Stravinsky: Le baiser de la fee (The Fairy's Kiss): Allegorical Ballet in Four Scenes; "Bluebird" Pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty (Arranged for Small Orchestra by Igor Stravinsky from the Composition by Tchaikovsky). Scottish National Orchestra; Neeme Jarvi, Conductor.
. . . The melodies [ of this ballet] come from five songs and 12 piano pieces of Tchaikovsky. Stravinsky applied his genius to the task of orchestrating them and organizing them to fit the Hans Christian Andersen story (''The Fairy's Kiss"). Stravinsky is at his best in ballet; and the orchestration is downright ingenious, as befits a pupil of RimskyKorsakov. For example, the Adagio: cello, harp, and clarinet do a charming trio. The flute adds some comments, then the strings. It couldn't be more effective. Or take the opening of the Scene (track 8 here): the English horn, sounding a bit like a goose, starts the music; then a clarinet, of all things, joins in, singing "None but the Lonely Heart"--hauntingly beautiful. The strings take up the theme and allow the winds to embroider it most delicately.
Finally even the brass have their say . Tchaikovsky's little song never knew what happened to it! And listen to the way the flutes are used in the Epilogue. Think back to the horn parts in the beginning. Both belong to the same fairy-tale world, yet they are so distinct from each other. This must be a magical ballet! (It's one of the few Stravinsky ballets I've not seen; let me know if it comes to your city.)
And this is a magical recording, worthy to follow the classic Ansermet (not available). This is Stravinsky for people who aren't sure they like Stravinsky.