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Stravinsky Renard etc

Robert Craft Collection Naxos 8.557505 [70 mins]

This is a generously filled and documented re-release of a Stravinsky miscellany, including as sharp an account of the Histoire du Soldat suite as you'll find (you may not always want to hear the narrated tale?) plus a new Renard, recorded in America 2005.

Full details at http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.557505
You even get the original version of the Scherzo a la Russe with the Paul Whiteman line-up based on six saxophones, and the Song of the Volga Boatmen.

Robert Craft provides a fuller commentary than one can reasonably expect at budget price. Recordings all clean and vivid.

Translations of the Balmont Songs and Japanese Lyrics are provided, and Renard is sung in an amended version of Stravinsky's own translation into the American vernacular. Stravinsky insisted Renard should always be done in the language of the audience (c.p. Amazon's review of another version, copied below*).

Craft's synopsis is full enough and the diction good enough to hear most of the text and the zestful performance brings out all the "bawdy wit, farcical fun, high spirits and high speed" of this comic burlesque. Hugely enjoyable. Why hesitate?

Peter Grahame Woolf

*Incredibly neither the Erato or EMI recordings include the Russian text (despite what the increasingly careless Gramophone Good CD Guide says to the contrary), which means that anyone wanting to follow word-for-word will have to track down a copy of Vol.8 of the now deleted Sony Stravinsky Edition. Even having done this this will not help with 'Renard' because the Sony Edition offers this sung in English.