Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Stravinsky: Symphonies, Divertimento, etc
The Symphony in C was conceived in Paris in the late 1930s, but completed in America in 1940, and is dedicated to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premièred in 1946, the Symphony in Three Movements presents us with movements that also manifest different ways of moving: a march, a slow dance, and a march-jog-race. The Greeting Prelude was written as an eightieth birthday tribute to Pierre Monteux, conductor of the premières of Pétrouchka and The Rite of Spring, and was first performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the very day: 4 April 1955. The other two pieces on the album reflect Stravinsky’s lifelong involvement with ballet. The Divertimento is an orchestral piece extracted by Stravinsky from his ballet The Fairy’s Kiss. The ballet was a homage to Tchaikovsky, based on songs and piano pieces by him, stitched together and orchestrated with Stravinskian cool. The Circus Polka was a commission from Stravinsky’s long-time collaborator George Balanchine, who had been asked by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to create a dance for elephants. The version heard here is the composer’s own orchestral version; the original was scored for circus band and organ by David Raksin, and performed by fifty elephants and fifty female dancers! Recorded in Surround Sound and available as a Hybrid SACD.