Pokrovsky Ensemble    Les Noces      Label: Elektra Nonesuch

Stravinsky's Les Noces ("The Wedding") and Russian Village
Wedding Songs.

This CD is superb.  Amazing performances of traditional Russian
wedding songs, intended to reveal Stravinsky's use of these
sources for the ballet Les Noces ("The Wedding"), which is also
performed here.

Every track relies extensively on the choral work of the singers
in the Pokrovsky Ensemble.  There's a little variation in tempo
and background instrumentation, but most of the tracks are pretty
similar, with an oddly unsettling, powerful quality to them.
None are more unsettling than the Stravinsky pieces themselves,
where angular, demented instrumentation supplements the intense
vocal work.

Every track is great.  Try cut 17 and tell me this isn't some of
the most powerful music you've ever heard.  Try cut 3 for an
excellent solo female vocal lament, and compare it to
Stravinsky's augemented version, cut 4.

The liner notes are also superb.  Translations of all the songs
are provided, as well extensive notes, which describe Russian
wedding customs, and speculate on Stravinsky's motives for
denying that he incorporated traditional influences in his work.

1  2:01	 	Play, Skomoroshek		faster. female vox, male chorus
2  3:15	 	River				Wailing female voices. Slower.
3  2:33	 	Trumpet				Solo bridal lament.
4  5:00		Les Noces, First Tableau	Bridal lament w/accompaniment
5  5:25		Les Noces, Second Tableau	Preparing for battle/wedding
6  3:18		Les Noces, Third Tableau        A truly demented Wedding.
7  9:05		Les Noces, Fourth Tableau       upbeat vibe, kinda like "Hair"
8  1:12		Cosmas and Demian		Fiddle, male voices. Mid-tempo
9  1:43		The Drinker			Slower, wailing female/male 
10 2:40		Green Forest			Slower choral lament.
11 1:04		God Bless, Jesus		mouth harp, male chorus
12 2:42		My White Peas			female chorus. Unsettling...
13 1:39		Steambath			guitar, harp, female voices
14 2:07		Berry				female chorus, fiddle
15 1:31		Black Beaver			female voice answering chorus
16 2:13		In the House 			flutey, cool metal banging
17 1:27		Bunny with Short Legs           Flute, Intense female chorus.
18 1:30		The Bed				Fairly rapid chorus.
19 3:23		Birch Tree			Female lamenting, chorus in BG