Stravinsky: Piano Works

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COMPOSERS: Stravinsky
LABELS: Collins
WORKS: Piano Works
PERFORMER: Victor Sangiorgio (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 13742 DDD
Italian-Australian pianist Victor Sangiorgio provides a reminder of the variety of Stravinsky’s output for his own instrument. Among the selection (this is not quite Stravinsky’s complete solo piano oeuvre) are the witty Piano Rag Music (1919) and Circus Polka (1942, a suitably elephantine transcription), the neo-classical Sonata (1924) and a stormy Sonata in F sharp minor (1904), more like Tchaikovsky than Stravinsky.

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Rhythm and wit are vital ingredients in all these, and Sangiorgio is ideally responsive to their varying demands. Stravinsky’s neo-classical style can sometimes tend towards monochromaticism, but Sangiorgio provides a range of coloration, from the delicacy of the 1924 Sonata’s slow movement to the organ-like Hymn in the Serenade of 1921.

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The documentation leaves a little to be desired, and the writer concludes with the unbelievable, patronising statement that only Stravinsky’s piano music is ‘entirely within the grasp of the ordinary music lover’. If anything it is the piano music that has until now seemed Stravinsky’s most ‘esoteric’ field, though this collection should help it become more appreciated and better known. Matthew Rye