RELEASE DATE: 8 MARCH – Decca Classics announces the upcoming release of Klaus Mäkelä’s second album with the Orchestre de Paris, featuring Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka and Debussy’s Jeux and Prélude à L’Après midi d’un faune.

The new album follows the success of the first installment of their Ballets Russes project, which featured Stravinsky’s L’Oiseau de feu and Le sacre du printemps“In these richly detailed and technically demanding scores, his orchestra sounds both glamorous and immaculate, complemented by a detailed yet well-balanced recording.” (BBC Music Magazine).

All three of Stravinksy’s Ballets Russes were performed at the prestigious 2023 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, where critics hailed Mäkelä’s dynamic leadership: “Mäkelä’s gestures are freer and more flexible than ever, proof of the relationship of trust that exists between this extraordinary conductor and an orchestra that has never been so close.” (Le Figaro), praising his “Diabolical Petrushka of precision” (Le Monde) and “By its virtuosity, conviction and evocative power, the interpretation of the Orchestre de Paris and its conductor Klaus Mäkelä is indisputable’ (Les Echos).

The album features a live recording of Pétrouchka from a concert at the Paris Philharmonie in September 2023, and Debussy’s Jeux and Prélude à L’Après midi d’un faune recorded at the Paris Philharmonie in December 2023. 

Introducing the project, Klaus Mäkelä says,  I got to know Pétrouchka from an early age and it was the first Stravinsky ballet that I conducted. It has since remained a work close to my heart, both for its wonderful narrative and colour. It sounds completely different from the other Ballet Russes scores – there is not the earthiness of The Rite of Spring or the late romantic spirit of the Firebird. What’s ground breaking is the harmonic language in which Stravinsky presents a wealth of fascinating and contemporary inventions and it’s a wonderful piece because every single gesture in the music has a narrative and the score is extremely colourful.”

After the success of L’Oiseau de feu, Stravinsky worked on Pétrouchka, a puppet ballet commissioned by Diaghilev for Ballets Russes. Premiered in 1911, it was a great success, showcasing Stravinsky’s use of Russian folk tunes. Diaghilev’s plans for Nijinsky’s choreography included an unsuccessful adaptation of Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune in 1912 and the 1913 premiere of Jeux, a ballet with extraordinary music by Debussy. Despite being overshadowed by Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps, Jeux gained recognition postwar, thanks to conductors like Pierre Boulez.

In addition to his role as Music Director of Orchestre de Paris, Klaus Mäkelä has held the position of Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic since 2020. As Artistic Partner to the Concertgebouworkest since 2022, he will assume the title of Chief Conductor in 2027. Mäkelä and the Orchestre de Paris are set to perform all three of Stravinksy’s Ballets Russes at the Paris Philharmonie on 28 and 29 February, followed by a USA tour with concerts in Ann Arbor, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston, and Montreal, featuring works from the new album.