Stravinsky famously dubbed the 1964 Berlin “Le sacre” a pet savage rather than a real one, blaming the tradition from which the performance came (German and unduly sostenuto) more than the performance itself for its obvious shortcomings…
By the time the work went back into the recording studio in November 1975, it was a performance of astonishing intensity. What is on the finished record is an uninterrupted final take of a reading that no longer cloys the appetite in feeds.
Richard Osborne: “Herbert von Karajan – Life in Music”
Wow, this is some disc! There are so few new major-label productions featuring today's "big" artists–and let's face it, so many of those turn out to be uninteresting–that it comes almost as a shock to note that there really can be a difference when everyone involved lives up to their reputations. Without a doubt, Esa-Pekka Salonen is a great conductor, particularly in contemporary music such as this. He recorded The Rite of Spring previously with the Philharmonia for Sony, and that was a very exciting performance, but this one has just that much more bite and savagery in the Sacrificial Dance, or at the conclusion of Part One. Indeed, the playing of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is pretty amazing throughout, with well-nigh unbelievable clarity in the polyrhythmic complexities of the Entry of the Sage, but also in the gentler washes of color that open Part Two.