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Stravinsky: Petrushka, Jeu de Cartes - Gergiev

Stravinsky: Petrushka, Jeu de Cartes - Gergiev

Mariinsky  MAR 0594

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Stravinsky: Petrushka, Jeu de Cartes

Mariinsky Orchestra
Valery Gergiev (conductor)


Part of the Mariinsky Label’s raison d’etre is to shine a light on great Russian works, especially those which Artistic Director Valery Gergiev feels don’t have an adequate selection of top quality recordings. Here he explores the genius of Stravinsky through a theme of ballet, contrasting Petrushka with one of the composer’s lesser known works, the witty Jeu de cartes. Petrushka is one of Stravinsky’s most celebrated works and a product of his famous collaboration with Diaghilev that also brought The Firebird and Rite of Spring into the world. Presented here in the composer’s original 1911 version, it tells the story of the loves and jealousies of three puppets who are brought to life during the 1830 Shrovetide Fair in Saint Petersburg. Its colourful music typifies Stravinsky’s work during the period and is characterised by the famous bi-tonal ‘Petrushka chord’.

A ballet in ‘three deals’, 1937’s Jeu de cartes stems from Stravinsky’s life-long enthusiasm for cards; poker in particular. A commission by Lincoln Kirstein and his newly formed American Ballet Company, it was composed during Stravinsky’s neoclassical period. The whimsical music focuses on the deceitful Joker who thinks himself unbeatable, thanks to a chameleon-like ability to become any card. During the work the Joker wages battle with other hands, but after two victorious rounds and the appearance of a third, he is vanquished by a Royal Flush of Hearts. Stravinsky regularly read La Fontaine during the composition of Jeu de cartes, chosing this quote to include in the score: ‘We must wage continual war against the wicked. Peace in itself is a fine thing, I agree, but what use can it be with enemies who do not keep their word?’

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Comment by hiredfox - August 21, 2017 (1 of 5)

One wonders if this title will ever see the light of day? Anybody have any info?

Comment by hiredfox - September 7, 2017 (2 of 5)

LSO Live tell me that there have been scheduling difficulties with this recording and we should not expect it to be released until the spring. Up-date today.

Comment by john hunter - September 7, 2017 (3 of 5)

There were difficulties with their Nutcracker in M.C as reported here.
No sign of any replacement. Shame-great performance.

Comment by hiredfox - September 8, 2017 (4 of 5)

Let's hope they keep going. The label came about when Gergiev was chief conductor at the LSO alongside his work at the Mariinsky; the label was modelled on the success of the LSO Live label and clearly benefitted from that. Now that Gergiev has moved away from London the direct support that the label received from the LSO Live may be less easy to justify.

The relationship is still intact as far as one can judge at an organisational level but we cannot know the level of financial support the label received or may still receive from London. If every disc Mariinsky produced has resulted in a net loss and any subsidies have been removed, obviously things may start to look a lot tougher from the Russian perspective.

Incidentally, the RCO Live label was also born out of a collaboration with the LSO Live label.

Comment by fausto kantiano - September 8, 2017 (5 of 5)

I sure hope they keep going with releasing product. A while ago we saw Gergiev/Mariinsky perform Stravinsky's Sacre (stupendous performance!) and the Concerto for Piano & Wind Instruments with Trifonov (amazing!). Now the latter won't be released, I suppose, because of contractual issues with Trifonov, but a Sacre from the Gergiev/Mariinsky tandem recorded for SACD would be a mouth-watering prospect, given how tremendously exciting that live performance was.