I have no criticism whatsoever about the excellence of these performances. No one plays neo-classical and late Stravinsky as well as Robert Craft, and whether in his energetic and witty account of Jeu de cartes, or the nicely "sec" articulation he uses to characterize the Danses and Scènes, these performances are as fine as any available, and they are very well recorded. Mark Wait also is a fine piano soloist in the Capriccio, giving a swift and uncommonly high-spirited rendition. The Variations belongs among Stravinsky's most uncompromisingly arid compositions. Craft delivers the piece with his usual clarity and focus, but like some Webern, the fact that you can listen to this brief work multiple times to try to "get it" doesn't mean that you will want to or that it's time well spent. Indeed my only qualm about this disc, one that prevents my giving it the highest rating, is that if you enjoy neo-classical Stravinsky you likely won't want the Variations. Still, it's only a bit more than five minutes of music and you can always ignore it. If the coupling suits, then don't hesitate.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Robert Craft
Orchestra/Ensemble: 20th Century Classics Ensemble, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Philharmonia Orchestra
Performer: Mark Wait
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