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Stravinsky: The Works For Violin & Piano / Keuelen, Mustonen


Release Date: 06/12/2008 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 420953   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van KeulenOlli Mustonen
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Van Keulen and Mustonen are right on top of frequently extravagant technical demands, and convey an infectious sense of enjoyment... the verve and flair of the playing deserve the widest circulation.

Stravinsky made a number of violin and piano arrangements in the late 1920s for Paul Kochanski, but it was not until 1931 and his meeting with the American violinist Samuel Dushkin that the medium suddenly seemed attractive to him. ''For many years I had taken no pleasure in the blend of strings struck in the piano with strings set in vibration with the bow'', he wrote. Work on the Duo concertante changed all that, and a new group of transcriptions, including new versions of the Suite italienne and the Berceuse from The
Read more Firebird, followed, most of them leaning heavily on Dushkin's advice. The result was a complete concert programme with which the two friends toured Europe in the 1932–3 and 1933–4 concert sessions.

Together with the solo Elegie, more often heard in the viola version, Mustonen's own arrangement of the 1940 Tango, and the curiously literal Marseillaise, they make a delightful programme on record too, and hearing these stylish, hugely enjoyable performances only makes one wish Stravinsky had followed the Duo with further original pieces.

The Duo, for all that it is so rarely heard, is actually one of the most free-spirited and purely inventive of all his neo-classical works, a reinstatement of Music-as-play but without the need for garish parody, exaggeration, or self-conscious stylization, and with a vein of touching poetry all its own. Van Keulen and Mustonen, two young artists (I recall their prize-winning performances in a recent European Young Musician of the Year contest), are right on top of its frequently extravagant technical demands, and as in all the music here recorded they convey an infectious sense of enjoyment. In the larger works they are at least the equals of Lin and Schub on CBS, and if Perlman and Canino on EMI are a mite more refined in places it is only a marginal difference.

The main thing is how much pleasure the smaller arrangements give, particularly if, like me, you are coming to them for the first time. Admittedly the Pastorale and Firebird transcriptions show little sign of having taxed Stravinsky's inventive faculties, but the ''Danse russe'' from PetrusAka is a marvel of textural re-thinking, and the poker-faced ostinatos of ''Chanson russe'', the biting accents of the Tango, the strikingly modern sounds of the Chants du rossignol all make riveting listening.

In all this the only quibbles I would have are with the slightly too forward balance of the piano (in an otherwise splendid Philips recording), the slight over-projection of the Scherzo from The Firebird and the Minuet from the Suite italienne, and the omission of the alternative Firebird and Pulcinella transcriptions (they may be less successful, but their inclusion would have made this a compulsory library purchase). As it is, the verve and flair of the playing deserve the widest circulation; this is precisely the sort of furrow record companies should be encouraging their young artists to till.'

-- Gramophone 8/1989
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suite italienne for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin), Olli Mustonen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from Pulcinella) 
2.
Duo concertant for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931-1932; France 
3.
Divertimento for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from The Fairy's Kiss) 
4.
Berceuse for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1933; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from The Firebird) 
5.
Pastorale for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin 
6.
Prélude et Ronde des princesses by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from The Firebird) 
7.
Chanson russe for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from Mavra) 
8.
Pétrouchka: Danse russe by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1947; Switzerland 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Samuel Dushkin 
9.
Ballad for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, J. Gautier (from The Fairy's Kiss) 
10.
Scherzo for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from The Firebird) 
11.
Chants du rossignol et Marche chinoise for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano), Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Notes: Arranged: Stravinsky, Dushkin (from The Nightingale) 
12.
Elégie for Viola solo by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Isabelle van Keulen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 

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