Is the composer the best interpreter of his own work? You have the unique opportunity to find an answer to this question listening to The Symphony of Psalms and the suite from Firebird by Stravinsky performed by Symphonic Orchestra of the National Philharmonic and conducted by Stravinsky himself. The album is complemented by Variations performed by Robert Craft, American conductor, commentator, and – from 1948 on – Stravinsky’s collaborator. The recordings were made on 28 May, 1965.
"...There is fortunately and appropriately great clarity of sound and the tapes have seemingly suffered little or no deterioration. The orchestra sounds well drilled and the Philharmonic Choir cope well ... The orchestral principals acquit themselves with distinction in the Variations, and the bass clarinet makes a notable contribution; wind chording is precise. The Symphony performance stresses its lyricism, not least in Laudate Dominum, but as ever Stravinsky’s rhythm is taut and vital and it emerges strengthened as a result. The woodwinds’ activity in the final movement is an indication of their commitment and the final choral Alleluias are increasingly convincing and cumulatively moving. The greater clarity and forward characterisation of Stravinsky’s CBC recording can hardly be denied but this is a welcome expansion of Stravinsky’s concert discography..."