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Monday, August 7, 2017

Igor Stravinsky - Music for Violin & Piano (Anthony Marwood; Thomas Adès)


Composer: Igor Stravinsky

  • (01-05) Suite (from the ballet Pulcinella)
  • (06) Pastorale
  • (07) Airs du rossignol (from the opera The Nightingale)
  • (08) Marche chinoise (from the opera The Nightingale)
  • (09-13) Duo concertant
  • (01) Berceuse (from the ballet The Firebird)
  • (02) Prélude et Ronde des princesses (from the ballet The Firebird)
  • (03) Scherzo (from the ballet The Firebird)
  • (04) Chanson russe (from the opera Mavra)
  • (05-10) Divertimento (from the ballet The Fairy's Kiss)
  • (11) Danse russe (from the ballet Petrushka)
  • (12) Tango (arr. Samuel Dushkin)
  • (13) Ballade (from the ballet The Fairy's Kiss)
  • (14) Scherzino (from Suite italienne)
  • (15) La Marseillaise for solo violin (composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle)

Anthony Marwood, violin
Thomas Adès, piano

Date: 2010
Label: Hyperion



A uniquely gifted duo recall the music Stravinsky created for a violinist friend

At the 2005 Aldeburgh Festival Marwood and Adès gave a recital of Stravinsky’s violin and piano works and it was immediately apparent that theirs was a remarkable partnership, confirmed when Marwood gave the premiere of Adès’s Violin Concerto later that year. In my review of some Stravinsky ballets (Linn, 1/10) I cited Stravinsky as a melodist. If he didn’t feel like writing tunes himself – and there are plenty here – he just swiped them from somebody else: Pergolesi in Pulcinella, Tchaikovsky in The Fairy’s Kiss. But Stravinsky made the violin and piano versions himself, except the Tango, for his recitals with Samuel Dushkin in the 1930s, and they are recompositions rather than just arrangements.

There are old friends. Three numbers from The Firebird, with a mesmeric Berceuse; the exhilarating Danse Russe from Petrushka stunningly delivered; and a reworked aria from the chamber opera Mavra. The Tango was written in America in 1940 as a pop song but not used and the version here was made by Dushkin. The opening improbably recalls Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and Marwood gets the insidiously erotic inflections of the Trio just right.

The only original work here is the Duo concertant, vintage neo-classical Stravinsky with styles ranging from coolly lyrical to busy. All these demands are superbly met by Marwood and Adès with immaculate rhythmic precision. The piano is sometimes aggressive but the engineers usually cope. Thank goodness that Dushkin was around at the right moment to inspire these collaborations and – 75 years later – that this uniquely gifted duo can bring them all to life in this admirably produced collection.

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: **** / SOUND: *****


Igor Stravinsky (17 June [O.S. 5 June] 1882 – 6 April 1971) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. His output is typically divided into three general style periods: a Russian period, a neoclassical period, and a serial period.


Anthony Marwood (born 1979 in London) is a British classical violinist. He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and studied with Emanuel Hurwitz and David Takeno.  From 1995-2012 he was a member of the Florestan Trio with Susan Tomes and Richard Lester. He was also active as a conductor. Marwood has made more than 30 CDs for the Hyperion label, both as soloist and as a former member of the Florestan Trio; he has also recorded for EMI, BIS and Wigmore Live.


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