MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Seattle Symphony’s Stravinsky Marathon

A costume sketch by Léon Bakst for The Costume sketch by Léon Bakst for The Firebird

Costume sketch by Léon Bakst for The Firebird

My review of the Seattle Symphony’s final concert of the season:

The past few months have brought the ensemble far more exposure than usual (an appearance at Carnegie Hall, a concert for the League of American Orchestras, the launch of an in-house label): its appetite for new challenges seems unstoppable.

So it’s hardly surprising that music director Ludovic Morlot is concluding the current season with an all-out marathon of orchestral virtuosity. The program of Stravinsky’s three pre-First World War ballet scores for the Ballets Russes in their entirety lasts close to three hours and, out of necessity for the players, requires two intermissions. It drew what appeared to be a close-to-packed house.

No matter how well we think we know this music, the opportunity to hear the young Stravinsky’s three iconic ballets back to back is bound to prompt new perspectives. And Morlot’s deeply sensitive interpretation of the uncut, sumptuous score for The Firebird (1910) did precisely that – all the more so since, only two weeks before, he’d led the SSO in the complete Daphnis et Chloé, also for the Ballets Russes, which was premiered in 1912, the year between Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913).

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Filed under: review, Seattle Symphony, Stravinsky

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