Principals Natalia Osipova and Steven McRae dance Ashton’s Rhapsody, created for The Royal Ballet in 1980 with the star parts taken by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lesley Collier. Ashton provided spectacular choreography to suit the dancers’ virtuoso abilities. Lauren Cuthbertson and Vadim Muntagirov lead a charismatic cast in Ashton’s poignant and heart-warming reflection on love, The Two Pigeons, based on an old French folktale and first performed on Valentine’s Day 1961. These two ballets by the Company’s Founder Choreographer capture The Royal Ballet’s famous skill and distinctive style. Barry Wordsworth conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in the rapturous Rachmaninoff and Messager scores.
Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497) stands as perhaps the greatest of the Franco-Flemish composers of the 15th century. Digitally recorded in 1992, this disc presents a world-premiere release of his two surviving 3-voice masses; Missa Sine Nomine and Missa Quinti Toni. They are presumably early works by the composer and are among his most masterful creations. Complete program notes on the works and general issues of performance practice, along with the mass texts and translations, are enclosed. Produced by Gerald Gold.