Serge Diaghilev’s choice of composers for his Ballet Russes productions (often acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s most influential ballet companies) has led to the creation of some of the most engaging and exhilarating music in the classical world. This new 3 CD set of live orchestral recordings by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales – made in their home venue of BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff – captures Stravinsky’s three great ballet scores (The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring) as well as works by fellow Ballet Russes composers Poulenc (Les Biches) and Liadov (Baba-Yaga, The Enchanted Lake and Kikimora).
This fresh sounding live recording from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer, the first made in the BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, certainly has a sense of occasion about it, with the audience erupting as the finale chorale [Firebird] reaches its exultant conclusion – BBC Music Magazine
[Thierry Fischer’s] Petrushka, notably beautiful, is graciously touching rather than violent or eruptive, the clean-textured, superbly detailed playing from the BBC National Orchestra Wales reminds us just how startlingly original Stravinsky’s sonorities – The Guardian
You should buy this for the generous, unusual coupling with Francis Poulenc’s rowdy, witty 1924 ballet Les biches …. As with the Rite, the performance is immaculate – The Arts Desk