The centenary of a sacred scandal: Le sacre played by four hands

Michael Tilson Thomas had the great opportunity to get some guidance from Igor Stravinsky while he was preparing for conducting a performance of Le sacre du printemps. When he asked the Russian composer how he should approach his work, Stravinsky’s replied with an fascinating advice. He encouraged the young conductor to find the version I wrote for two pianos and play it with a partner. He also remarked that the first encounter one must have with this piece had to be physical. The body then must feel the sound directly.

This is a recording of that version for two pianos performed by none other than Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas. Listening to this arrangement constitutes quite a revealing experience. Not only you get to hear this work through the rich –yet limited- sonic range of the piano, but you can also confirm the outstanding orchestration skills Stravinsky displayed when adapting the score for the whole orchestra.


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