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IGOR STRAVINSKY
The Robert Craft Edition: The Ballets.
Naxos 8.506009, 6 CDs, boxed.
naxos.com

Firebird (orig. 1910), Petrushka (rev, 1947), Apollo, Agon, Orpheus, Pulcinella, Fairy's Kiss, Rite of Spring, Nightingale, Jeu des cartes, Danses concertantes, Scène de Ballet, Variations, Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra (Rubies from Jewels)

Review by Steve Koenig

Robert Craft, as many will know, was Stravinsky's friend, confidant, and book-cowriter from 1948 until the composer's death in 1971, and therefore has accordant insight into his music. He conducted the American premieres of both of Alban Berg's operas, as well as plenty of Varèse and Webern. Dig up William Zagorski's Fanfare review of this Pulcinella for a fascinating anecdote of his first encounter with Craft when he was in university.

Naxos has boxed up these six separately-available budget-priced discs at an even lower price; the set lists at $39.99USD. Each disc has notes for each work, written by Robert Craft. Some of the booklets are downright chunky, and all compositions with texts (Pulcinella, Oedipus, Les Noces, Nightingale) present them in their original languages plus side-by-side English translations; you will not have to go online for them. Thanks, Naxos.

All of these recordings were previously released on the now defunct Koch International Classics and MusicMasters labels. This box will serve anyone well as a standard Stravinsky reference set, even those who already own the Sony 22-CD Stravinsky box or the 8-disc Ansermet on Decca.

Naxos deserves kudos for reissuing much of Koch's twentieth century releases- Roger Sessions, Charles Wuroinen, et al. Others of the Craft/ Stravinsky not in the present box is reissued by Naxos, but Threni (Lamentations of Jeremiah), from Koch KIC 7514, and many others remain in limbo. Any chance of these too, Naxos?



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