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Dip Your Ears, No. 229 (OK Stravinsky in the Cards for Gergiev)

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I.Stravinsky, Petrushka (1911 Version), Jeu de Cartes
Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra

Valery Gergiev is as streaky a conductor as they come. Sensational, awful, and perfectly fine if eventless recordings follow in unpredictable order and ratio. This release of Petrushka (in the 1911 Version) and Jeu de Cartes feels like it was recorded on the go, rather than have love and labor poured into it. That approach, not foreign to Gergiev, can yield results that are exciting (usually with orchestras that haven’t already drunk too deeply from the Gergiev cup), but here especially Petrushka remains just that: A rather fine run-through that sounds good enough only until one encounters knock-out recordings conducted by, say, Boulez (either), Chailly, Dohnanyi, the composer himself, or, if it must be the 1911 version, Andrew Litton. If you are looking for Jeu de Cartes, there’s nothing to regret opting for this version, but you could also just go back to Chailly and be every bit as well served.

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