The highly controversial reactions of the public could hardly have inspired Stravinsky to believe that, of all his compositions, his early ballets would bring him world fame one day. But just how the composer set the story of the puppet Petrushka to music is doubtless one of the greatest achievements ever in ballet music. Petrushka’s wild behaviour puts the orchestra’s patience to a hard test. Eventually the ensemble takes its revenge with a vengeance and eventually causes the puppet to collapse.
DECCA is certainly to be congratulated for winning Ernest Ansermet for the present recording. No other conductor was granted the opportunity of following so closely all his life the creative process of this great composer. With its infallible perception of Stravinsky’s compositional language, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande – long regarded by connoisseurs as one of the very best ensembles – admirably presents the varied colouring of the highly complex score, from the picturesque trills and slurs, to the lyrical, cantabile wind passages, and on to the unrelenting, hammering ostinati. Right from its very first release, the music and the performance have ensured that this recording has been dubbed “legendary”.