Petrushka follows 2009’s release of Stravinsky’s Firebird and is the second in a three-part series of works from Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer. These recordings encapsulate the vivacity and passion of Stravinsky’s tale of three life-sized puppets, seemingly brought to life.

The disc also features three works by fellow Russian and Ballet Russes composer Anatoly Liadov: dark and dramatic tone-poems on Slavic witches and demons in Babayaga and Kikimora, and a tranquil and fairytale-like portrait of the Russian countryside in The Enchanted Lake.

“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 reaches its exultant conclusion.”

BBC Music Magazine 



What people are saying

“Both composers benefit from Fischer’s trademark refinement. His 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

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Thierry Fischer

Release date:28th Jun 2010
Order code:SIGCD195
Barcode: 635212019528


The Guardian, 8th July 2010

The latest instalment in Thierry Fischer’s series examining the music of Ballets Russes juxtaposes Stravinsky’s Petrushka with a sequence of tone poems by Liadov – Baba-Yaga, The Enchanted Lake and Kikimora – that was strung together in 1916 by Léonide Massine for a ballet originally also called Kikimora, though Massine retitled it Contes Russes in 1919. Both composers benefit from Fischer’s trademark refinement. His Petrushka, notably beautiful, is graciously touching rather than violent or eruptive, and the clean-textured, superbly detailed playing from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales reminds us just how startlingly original Stravinsky’s sonorities are. There’s been a flurry interest in Liadov of late and Fischer’s versions of the tone poems are important additions to his growing discography. As with the Stravinsky, he makes us very conscious of the music’s influences – in this case Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky – as well as reminding us of the extraordinary craftsmanship he lavished on his orchestral miniatures.

Tim Ashley

The Guardian, August 2010


Recorded Petrushkas abound- and Fischer’s is more than decently played, if lacking the rhythmic bite and theatricality of the most famous accounts – but the three Liadov pieces, which take up almost a third of this disc’s playing time, are rarities. A younger contemporary and protégé of Tchaikovsky and Diaghilev, Liadov turned down the latter’s commission to compose a ballet on the subject of the Firebird, which was then offered to Stravinsky with explosive results. Liadov’s music mines a similar post-Rimskyian strain of exoticism, as in the three pieces recorded here – Baba-Yaga (the Russian folkloric witch already portrayed by Musorgsky), The Enchanted Lake and Kikimora, the last two composed in the same year as Firebird, 1910. Liadov’s character portraiture and colouristic orchestrations are admirably served in these BBC recordings.

Hugh Canning


The Gramophone, Awards 2010 Issue

Stravinsky liked Anatole Liadov, an older figure in Russian music active as composer, teacher and conductor . But Liadov was famous for procrastination which ruined his prospects of writing a score for Diaghilev’s The Firebird – and hence gave Stravinsky his great opportunity in 1910. The Enchanted Lake and IGkimora (the name of a wicked female goblin) date from exactly the time when Liadov might have been writing his Firebird. Like Stravinsky’s ballet, these attractive miniatures are steeped in Russian folklore in the tradition of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, whom Liadov idolised, and there are eerie suggestions of Stravinsky’s Firebird, especially in kikimora. There are also glances at Scriabin, whom Stravinsky heard Liadov defend. Baba-Yaga is five years earlier and sounds programmatic in the manner of Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which it resembles.

The Liadov pieces have remained in the repertoire and are well served here, although we could have done with more Liadov on this short CD. The benchmark for the second of Stravinsky’s three great early ballets is his own recording from 1960 with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, remastered for Sony’s Igor Stravinsky Edition (8/92). His 1962 recording made with the Moscow Philharmonic on his return to Russia (Melodiya) was dwarfed by the occasion and is anyway incomplete. In the 1960 version Stravinsky’s rhythms sparkle, enhanced by a bright recording; accents and grace notes are sharply defined, and some tempi are faster than Fischer’s. This vivid interpretation makes the BBC National Orchestra of Wales sound safe and routine, although their atmospheric passages are telling. There are legions of recordings to choose from but this offers no serious competition.

Peter Dickinson

  1. Petrushka: Scene 1 – Stravinsky – 10.06
  2. Petrushka: Scene 2 – Stravinsky – 4.13
  3. Petrushka: Scene 3 – Stravinsky – 7.08
  4. Petrushka: Scene 4 – Stravinsky – 14.09
  5. Baba-yaga – Liadov – 3.45
  6. The Enchanted Lake – Liadov – 10.01
  7. Kikimora – Liadov – 8.44