Artist: London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Title: Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex, Apollon musagète
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 2014
Duration: 01:19:04
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz
Label: LSO Live

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the LSO on this his first release for LSO Live, Stravinsky’s ‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Apollon musagte’. Also featured on the release are the gentlemen of the Monteverdi Choir, considered one of the world’s leading choirs, and a mix of international and home-grown soloists including Jennifer Johnston and Stuart Skelton. French actress Fanny Ardant, who has appeared in more than 50 motion pictures, takes the rle of narrator.

‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Apollon musagte’ are both ancient Greek-themed works by Stravinsky. The rich string harmonies and textures in the ballet score of ‘Apollon musagte’ are pleasantly mesmerising, expressive and calmly indulgent. In contrast, the dramatic and hauntingly compelling opera-oratorio ‘Oedipus Rex’ is composed of an assemblage of monumental and powerful sounds, such as playful woodwinds, robust brass and agile strings, with magnificent vocals from the choir and soloists.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is touring a programme of Mendelssohn Symphonies with the LSO to France and Switzerland during January and March, after which the orchestra head, with Daniel Harding, to the Far East. Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2014 in March with concerts in France and Spain, performing Monteverdi’s ‘Vespers’.

Recorded in April 2013 at the Barbican in London, these live performances of Igor Stravinsky’s oratorio Oedipus Rex and the ballet Apollon musagte are among the most vivid on SACD, thanks to the energizing conducting of John Eliot Gardiner, the hypnotic singing of the Monteverdi Choir, and the vibrant playing of the London Symphony Orchestra. Granitic and block-like, Oedipus Rex is cast in a monumental style, and Stravinsky’s setting of Sophocles’ tragedy is severe and grim. Yet the Monteverdi Choir’s incantatory singing and the rhythmic playing of the LSO keep the piece exciting, and Gardiner’s urgent tempos keep the music pulsing. Apollon musagte, written for string orchestra, provides a clear contrast in sound and expression, and where Oedipus is stark and off-putting, this neo-classical ballet is elegant and poignant. Yet Gardiner’s interpretation emphasizes the athletic aspect of the dance, and the strong rhythmic impulse propels the music forward, without unnecessarily rushing the pace. The most enjoyable aspect of this audiophile recording is the luscious sound of the orchestra, surprisingly so in Apollon musagte, which is often played by other ensembles on the dry side. But the orchestra’s full textures and gorgeous string sonorities give a warmth that benefits the piece. – AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson


  1. Oedipus Rex, Prologue and Act I: I. ‘Spectateurs, vous allez entendre…’ – 7:11
  2. Oedipus Rex, Act I: II. ‘Voici Creon, beau-frère d’Oedipe…’ – 6:53
  3. Oedipus Rex, Act I: III. ‘Oedipe interroge la fontaine de verite…’ – 8:19
  4. Oedipus Rex, Act II: I. ‘Gloria, gloria, gloria!’ – 11:52
  5. Oedipus Rex, Act II: II. ‘Le temoin du meurtre sort de l’ombre…’ – 7:36
  6. Oedipus Rex, Act II: III. ‘Et maintenant, vous allez entendre…’ – 7:10
  7. Apollon musagète: I. Naissance d’Apollon – 4:10
  8. Apollon musagète: II. Variation d’Apollon – 2:57
  9. Apollon musagète: III. Pas d’action – 4:27
  10. Apollon musagète: IV. Variation de Calliope – 1:32
  11. Apollon musagète: V. Variation de Polymnie – 1:19
  12. Apollon musagète: VI. Variation de Terpsichore – 1:41
  13. Apollon musagète: VII. Variation d’Apollon – 2:39
  14. Apollon musagète: VIII. Pas de deux – 4:38
  15. Apollon musagète: IX. Coda – 3:16
  16. Apollon musagète: X. Apothéose – 3:33