Bach & Stravinsky

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2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Bach & Stravinsky
ALBUM TITLE: Bach & Stravinsky
WORKS: Duo concertant, Suite Italienne
PERFORMER: Leonidas Kavakos, Peter Nagy
CATALOGUE NO: 472 7672
Following an impressive disc


of Enescu and Ravel (reviewed

February 2004), Leonidas Kavakos

now presents another thoughtful

juxtapostion. On paper the

combination of Bach and Stravinsky

makes a lot of sense, for the latter’s

works for violin and piano date

almost exclusively from the early

1930s, at the heart of the period when

Bach’s influence was strongest upon

his musical thought. In practice,

the programme is, regrettably,

dysfunctional, especially as presented

here, with the Duo concertant and

Suite Italienne being followed

respectively by Bach’s B minor Partita

and G minor Sonata.

Kavakos may not quite match

the verve and intensity of Lydia

Mordkovitch in the Stravinsky

(Chandos, reviewed January 2000),

but his lyrical account of the Duo

concertant sits quite happily with

its august neighbour, the Partita.

Like Dora Bratchkova (CPO,

reviewed November 2003), Kavakos

lacks Mordkovitch’s spirit in the Suite

italienne, but even this straitlaced

account cannot prevent the sensation

of a splendid trifle being served

before the refined savoury dish of

Bach’s Sonata. At least, the Bach

might have been refined if it had not

been smothered in a soupy acoustic

with the microphone placed under

Kavakos’s nose.

Amid this, his playing is technically

assured, with a gorgeously silken

tone, but Bach needs more humanity

than this. The second Double of the

Partita is just a stream of perfectly

equal notes. Even a moto perpetuo

needs shape, whereas this is like

someone reciting a stream of words

without any sense of the nuance

and rhythm that would turn them

into poetry. For a disc intended

to be heard in its entirety, this

makes an unsatisfying whole.


Christopher Dingle