Sony Classical Releases Igor Stravinsky: The Complete Columbia Album Collection

Special Box Set Featuring 56 CDs, a DVD and Hardcover Book Available October 30, 2015


NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Classical is proud to announce an unprecedented reissue of the complete recordings of Igor Stravinsky' works made for CBS/American Columbia. Available October 30, Igor Stravinsky: The Complete Columbia Album Collection brings together for the very first time on CD all of the mono "Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky" recordings issued in the 1940s and 1950s, alongside the more familiar stereo remakes from the 1960s.  It also includes all of the authorized performances that Stravinsky's assistant Robert Craft conducted for the label in the composer's presence, after age and infirmity had restricted his own ability to do so.

As the first composer in history to have conducted or supervised the recording of almost his entire oeuvre (much of it more than once), Stravinsky left the world a unique legacy of which The New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote in 1999: "In terms of archival importance, this discography is the greatest landmark in the history of recorded music from the classical tradition."

A more comprehensive representation of that discography than any previous reissue, Sony Classical's new set of 56 CDs plus DVD itself represents a major landmark in recorded music, containing no fewer than 23 performances never previously released on CD plus 17 performances newly mastered from the original analogue discs and tapes using 24 bit / 96 kHz mastering technology, while the accompanying DVD, Stravinsky in Hollywood, contains scenes from several big studio films of the 1940s brought together – for the very first time – with the music that Stravinsky wrote for them.

This historic collection comes with a 264 pages hardcover book containing a complete work catalog, a detailed discography and a wealth of session photos, along with a major new essay by Stravinsky expert Richard Taruskin, in which he examines how the composer's lifelong distrust of performers and live performances drove him to attempt to preserve definitive accounts of all his works through the more objective medium of recordings.

Igor Stravinsky: The Complete Columbia Album Collection also features facsimile LP labels and sleeves, including cover artwork by Jean Cocteau, the polymathic French writer, artist and filmmaker who collaborated with Stravinsky on his opera Oedipus rex, and by Columbia's legendary graphic designer Alex Steinweiss, the man credited with inventing the modern album cover.

Highlights from this treasure chest of rediscoveries include:

  • The composer's New York Philharmonic versions of major works including scenes from Petrouchka from 1940 and the premiere recording of his recently completed Symphony in Three Movements from 1946, "which reflects a new-born masterpiece in the heat of its creation" (Gramophone)

  • Conducting the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, Stravinsky's landmark versions of Orpheus (1949), Apollo (1950) and the Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (1950), with his son Soulima as soloist
  • His Cleveland Orchestra complete Pulcinella (1953) and Fairy's Kiss (1955), and the 1952 recording of the Symphony in C, which the New York Times's Tommasini describes as "a bit tauter, shapelier and more organic than that from 1962 with the CBC Symphony Orchestra", though, the critic continues, "the later version, a drier tarter performance, seems more boldly modern."
  • The "definitive" (MusicWeb-International) Oedipus Rex that Stravinsky conducted in Cologne in 1951, with matchless soloists Peter Pears as Oedipus and Martha Modl as Jocasta, narrated by the work's librettist Jean Cocteau
  • Stravinsky's 1953 Metropolitan Opera complete recording of The Rake's Progress
  • The solo and duo piano works recorded by Charles Rosen, Vronksy and Babin, and Gold and Fizdale

Needless to add, each recording in this exceptional new set of 56 CDs comes from the best original source. Igor Stravinsky: The Complete Columbia Album Collection thus represents a major new milestone in the discography of the 20th century's greatest composer.

Of the repertoire in this edition the following 40 performances will be newly remastered from the original analog discs and tapes, of which 23 works will appear on CD for the first time:

Stravinsky: Petrushka Ballet Suite [recorded 1940]
Stravinsky: Divertimento (from Le Baiser de la fee) [recorded 1940]
Stravinsky: Scenes de ballet [recorded 1945]
Stravinsky: Tango (Vitya Vronsky, Victor Babin, pianos) [recorded 1945]
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms [recorded 1946]
Stravinsky: Symphony in 3 Movements [recorded 1946]
Stravinsky: Pastorale (song without words for violin & woodwind quartet) [recorded 1946]
Stravinsky: Concerto for 2 Solo Pianos (Vitya Vronsky, Victor Babin, pianos) [recorded 1947]
Stravinsky: Scherzo a la russe for 2 Solo Pianos (Vronsky, Babin, pianos) [recorded 1947]
Stravinsky: Danses concertantes (for chamber orchestra) [recorded 1947]
Stravinsky: Divertimento (from Le Baiser de la fee) [recorded 1947]
Stravinsky: Scherzo a la russe [recorded 1947]
Stravinsky: Orphee – Ballet [recorded 1949]
Stravinsky: Mass for Mixed Chorus and Double Wind Quintet [recorded 1949]
Stravinsky: Pater Noster (revised 1949 version) [recorded 1949]
Stravinsky: Ave Maria (revised 1949 version) [recorded 1949]
Stravinsky: Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments [recorded 1950]
Stravinsky: Concerto en re (pour orchestra a cordes) "Basle Concerto" [recorded 1950]
Stravinsky: Apollon musagete – Ballet [recorded 1950]
Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex - Opera-Oratorio in 2 Acts after Sophocles [recorded 1951]
Stravinsky: Cantata [recorded 1952]
Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress [recorded 1953]
Stravinsky: Septet [recorded 1954]
Stravinsky: In memoriam Dylan Thomas [recorded 1954]
Stravinsky: 3 Songs from William Shakespeare [recorded 1954]
Stravinsky: 4 Songs for Voice, Flute, Harp and Guitar [recorded 1955]
Stravinsky: 3 Japanese Lyrics [recorded 1955]
Stravinsky: 2 Poems of Konstantin Balmont [recorded 1955]
Stravinsky: 3 Little Songs (Recollections of my Childhood) [recorded 1955]
Stravinsky: 4 Russian Peasant Songs ("Saucers") for Female Choir (1914–1917) [recorded 1955]
Gesualdo-Stravinsky: Illumina nos (Robert Craft, conductor) [recorded 1957]
Stravinsky: Persephone [recorded 1957]
Stravinsky: 3 Easy Pieces (Arthur Gold, Robert Fizdale, pianos) [recorded 1961]
Stravinsky: 5 Easy Pieces (Arthur Gold, Robert Fizdale, pianos) [recorded 1961]
Stravinsky: Concerto for 2 Solo Pianos (Arthur Gold, Robert Fizdale, pianos) [recorded 1961]
Stravinsky: Pastorale (for soprano voice and piano, 1907) (Jennie Tourel, soprano) [recorded 1965]
Stravinsky: Les Noces (Robert Craft, conductor) [recorded 1965]
Stravinsky: Mass for mixed chorus and double wind quintet (Robert Craft, conductor) [recorded 1966]
Stravinsky: Les Noces (1917) (Robert Craft, conductor) [recorded 1973]
Stravinsky: Les Noces (1919) for Pianola, 2 Cimbaloms, Harmonium and Percussion (Robert Craft, conductor) [recorded 1973]

Stravinsky in Hollywood explores the short-lived film career of this legendary composer. It is the story of his trials and tribulations with the Hollywood Studios, the story of an "old school" European artist knocking heads with the brash New World. Igor Stravinsky lived in the heart of Hollywood from 1939 until shortly before his death in 1971 – longer than in any other single place. He came expecting to find lucrative work composing for the movies. First released in 2013, this 54-minute film uses a combination of existing archival footage (some of it never before seen), contemporary interviews with experts in the field and living movie composers, and scenes from several big studio films of the 1940s brought together – for the very first time – with the music that Stravinsky wrote for them.

Richard Taruskin
American musicologist and critic Richard Taruskin (born 1945, New York) was on the faculty of Columbia University for 26 years before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a professor of musicology for 28 years before retiring at the end of 2014. Published in 1996, his major study Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions was a pioneering exploration of the composer's extensive use of Russian folk materials. Other publications include The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays and On Russian Music, as well as numerous articles for The New York Times (many of them collected in Text & Act).

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SOURCE Sony Classical