Stravinsky Pulcinella; Jeu de Cartes
Abbado conducts Pulcinella with a good deal of vigour, persuading his smallish group from the LSO to some very adroit, nimble playing. Tempos are generally pretty swift and the performance as a whole is most exhilarating. Teresa Berganza's warmth of tone and vivid musical personality are a joy to hear, but all the solo singing is good. On a rival middisc from EMI, Simon Rattle finds a little more wit and elegance in the score, but his soloists are no more than competent and his fill-up of the two Suites is less generous than that of the DG.
Abbado directs a very crisp, clear and well-balanced account of Jeu de cartes, with confident high-spirited playing and hardly a ragged edge anywhere. If the LSO's sharpness of attack and rhythmic security are impressive then so is their playing in the quieter passages of the score, which are realized with a good deal of finesse. The recording of Jeu de cartes is a little more natural and vivid than that of Pulcinella, but the quality in both scores is more than satisfactory.'