BBC Music Magazine

Stravinski­an sets and a ‘Singing Strad’

This month’s round-up takes in Lloyd Webber, Lenny and the LSO


Small but perfectly formed, The Singing Strad (Decca 485 1567) encapsulat­es two decades of recordings by Julian Lloyd Webber across three discs. Released to mark his 70th birthday, it represents the cellist at the top of his game before injury forced his retirement from public performanc­e. What else would be at the heart of such a set than Elgar’s Cello Concerto? His recording is surrounded by other great cello statements, including works by Saintsaëns, Shostakovi­ch, Tchaikovsk­y and Vaughan Williams. It all makes for a fine birthday celebratio­n.

Next there’s Claudio Abbado & London Symphony Orchestra (DG 483 9589) a whopping 47-disc set which takes in all of the conductor and orchestra’s recordings together for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. Ranging broadly from Vivaldi to Hindemith, each recording showcases the maestro’s meticulous approach, the orchestra utterly under his spell. Arranged in alphabetic­al order by composer, the collection turns on a dime from symphonies to opera. A mighty and masterful box of delights.

The LSO also features on Bernstein conducts Stravinsky (Sony Classical 1943985420­2), an eightdisc collection featuring two of the conductors greatest recordings.

The New York Philharmon­ic does the lion’s share of the playing here, including the still-stunning 1950s recordings of The Rite of Spring and The Firebird, plus a 1970s Petrushka. The musical treasures are bolstered by Bernstein’s fascinatin­g two-hour Stravinsky lecture, recorded at Harvard, which features a complete Boston performanc­e of Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex.

If you want more Igor, then Igor Stravinsky Edition (Warner Classics 9029514093) should be a draw. Like the Bernstein, it’s released to coincide with the 50th anniversar­y of Stravinsky’s death, but goes much further in charting the composer’s vast and varied output. You’ll find recordings from as far back as 1928 and as recent as 2019, with ballet, orchestral, choral, opera, theatre, vocal, piano, chamber, concertant­e works and transcript­ions filling the 23 discs. The great artwork alone makes this an eye-catching release.

The Singing Strad shows Julian Lloyd Webber at the top of his game

 ??  ?? Mutual appreciati­on: Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky in 1960
Mutual appreciati­on: Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky in 1960
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