The best recording I know is Michael Tislon Thomas and the BSO.
11 responses Add your response
There is a 1976 recording by Phillips of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis that is my favorite on vinyl, good sound, very dynamic and I very much enjoy the interpretation (I actually like the whole Stravinsky ballet cycle Davis did with that orchestra at that time, worth picking up all three).
A lot of orchestras are playing the piece right now given it's reaching its centennial; our New Jersey Symphony is performing it in early June (I would expect Audiogon member Frogman will be playing in those performances). If you have a chance you have to hear it live, no recording can do it justice, and given the size of the orchestra needed to perform it and the cost, it is not performed that often.
I don't partake of the vinyl any more, but my own hands-down favorite of it so far is Zubin Mehta's (CBS Masterworks) recorded in '77. It's a bit atypical in that it's the most monumentally dramatic and at times nightmarish version I've heard yet...a lot of the suggestion that Stravinsky's inspiration for this piece came from a dream (together with his absence of melodic lines) comes through in a very affecting way here. After this version the others that I've heard seemed almost tame by comparison...a few even pastoral. This CD is also very dynamic as well and seems pretty well engineered. There may still be vinyl pressings of it out there, but if so, I haven't actually heard them.
I agree with Reprince re Colin Davis's Stravinsky, an easy recommendation. His vinyl records should be easy to find. It was very popular. Re MTT's Rites, if you can find his 1966 version with the SFO on vinyl pick it up.
Now if you want to get your socks blown off Bernstein's 1958 performance with the NYSO will do it for you. If you can find it! Columbia Masterworks. FWIW, if you really like this piece, and are not just looking for the 'best' recording to demo your vinyl audio system, this is now out on CD and really should be heard.
I enjoy the RR recording by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orch and the Telarc version by Maazel and Cleveland Orch, but I'm glad for the other recommendations.
It's a timely post as I will be hearing the ROS by the Colorado Symphony tomorrow (Saturday), and I have two spare tickets. Anyone interested in attending can e-mail me for the tix...Should be great.
I second Rcprince's and Newbee's recommendations. I would add two recordings that are must-hears. Whenever possible, go to the source. IMO, Columbia's recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra with Stravinsky himself conducting is THE ONE if one wants to hear what the composer intended. It is a ferocious and incredibly exciting reading. Not available on vinyl, but for a similarly exciting (scary, at times) reading, Gergiev's recording with the Kirov orchestra is killer.