WORKS: Suite italienne; Divertimento; Duo concertant
PERFORMER: Dora Bratchkova (violin), Aldo Orvieto, Violeta Popova, Andreas Meyer-Hermann (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 999 941-2
Stravinsky’s works for violin and piano date almost exclusively from the period in the early Thirties when he was touring with Samuel Dushkin, for whom he had also written his Violin Concerto, and needed enough music for a full recital. The Duo concertant is his only original work for the genre and brings the best out of Dora Bratchkova, especially in the impassioned closing ‘Dithyrambe’. Elsewhere, though, there is a hardness to the tone that soon wears thin, not helped by a recording that places the violin right under the listener’s nose.
For the remainder of his violin works, Stravinsky foraged among his stage works, making arrangements that occasionally border on recomposition. Thus, the Suite italienne and Divertimento are reworkings respectively of Pulcinella and The Fairy’s Kiss, themselves based upon pieces by Pergolesi and Tchaikovsky. If ever music should be charming, it is this. Bratchkova sounds thoroughly determined, ripping through the opening Sinfonia of the Divertimento, but her efforts are only intermittently engaging, while the Suite italienne pootles along quite nicely without finding the infectious enthusiasm present in the best accounts. It is a pity, too, that the half dozen or so shorter arrangements by Stravinsky and Dushkin have not been included. Christopher Dingle