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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Russians Are Coming (well, one, anyway)

The New York Philharmonic opens a two-week festival celebrating the music of Igor Stravinsky, featuring the conducting of acclaimed Russian maestro Valery Gergiev.

Stravinsky emigrated to America in 1939. He settled in Los Angeles, following the outbreak of World War II. He lived in California until 1969. For the last two years of his life, he was a New Yorker, living in the Essex House on the south side of Central Park. He conducted, and recorded with the Philharmonic in 1948, leading performances of Fireworks, the Ebony Concerto, and other works.

The series kicks off with four performances of The Firebird paired with the Symphonies for Wind Instruments and the Symphony of Psalms. Gergiev has recorded most of this repertory for Philips--and much of it is currently being re-released on the London imprint. Later concerts include the opera Oedipus Rex and the popular ballets Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.

In other Gergiev-related news, Decca has released a set of the conductor's Mariinsky Theater recordings of the major operas of Serge Prokofiev. The budget box includes The Fiery Angel, War and Peace, and the comedies The Love for Three Oranges and Betrothal in a Monastery.

More information on the upcoming series is available at NYPhil.Org

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