Stravinsky: Firebird Suite; Bizet: Jeux D'Enfants; Ravel: Mother Goose Suite
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Price range: $25-197, mean $78
Comments: I love the cover on this one. I wanted to really love the album, too, but I was honestly a little disappointed at the sound quality. Side 1 with the Rite of Spring starts out wonderfully. There is a nice soundstage to the recording, and one can appreciate the ambience of the recording venue. I particularly liked the performance of the Dance Infernale du Roi Kashchei. Sadly, though, when you get to the final movement, the loud, dynamic passages lose clarity, and once again there is distortion. Same as what I experienced on the Karajan Pictures at an Exhibition album. The final climax of the work is ruined by this distortion, and because of that, I couldn't give this record any higher than a 3 out of 5 for sound. The gong in the Laideronette of the Ravel, for instance, is hardly audible. That being said, as aforementioned, there are some sonically pleasing moments on this album which make it worthwhile to listen to. I am a big fan of Giulini's work, and as far as interpretation goes, these are enjoyable and exciting performances. Though I haven't seen the Ravel reissued in digital media, the Stravinsky and Bizet were reissued on CD as part of the Great Conductors of the 20th Century series.