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Stravinsky: Rite Of Spring, Etc / Ashkenazy, Gavrilov


Release Date: 03/25/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 433829   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Andrei GavrilovVladimir Ashkenazy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ashkenazy and Gavrilov give a full-blooded performance, rhythmically incisive and with every minute gear change and every nuance finely judged.

Without doubt, this has to be one of the most satisfying, nay galvanizing, two-piano recitals I have had the pleasure of sampling for a long time. Ashkenazy and Gavrilov commence proceedings with a rhythmically taut, crisply articulated account of the rarely heard two-piano arrangement of the Scherzo a la russe. Originally intended as music for an abortive project for a war film, the Scherzo is more frequently heard in either its orchestral or jazz ensemble versions, but as Ashkenazy and Gavrilov so persuasively prove there is much to be said for more than an occasional airing
Read more in Stravinsky's own arrangement for two pianos. Next, come Stravinsky's two original works for the medium: the Concerto for two solo pianos dating from 1931-5 and the Sonata of 1943. The spiky, contrapuntal textures and acute contrasts of the four-movement Concerto are splendidly projected in this performance, lifting what can often sound like one of Stravinsky's more academic essays into a much more attractive and approachable work, and I was also more acutely aware of the influence of Prokofiev in the first movement than I have been in previous encounters with this work—particularly from the latter's Sixth Sonata and Second Concerto. The briefer, leaner, more economical Sonata for two pianos originally began life as a solo piano sonata, but was redesigned for two pianos when Stravinsky realized that four hands were required to successfully bring out the clarity of the four contrapuntal lines, and this is admirably achieved in this appropriately understated performance.

Finally, Ashkenazy and Gavrilov give what must be one of the most exciting renditions of the two-piano version of The Rite of Spring on disc. Apart from a purely academic viewpoint—or as an occasional reminder of the sheer revolutionary nature of this beast—I have never been entirely convinced of the value of this version. That is until now; Ashkenazy and Gavrilov give a full-blooded performance (no pale imitation of The Rite here) rhythmically incisive and with every minute gear change and every nuance finely judged. Their success, I believe, is partly due to a staunch refusal to emulate orchestral sonorities; that, and simply some astonishing playing—in their hands this sounds like a remarkably pianistic score and I can strongly recommend this as a supplement to the orchestral version. An admirable collection of Stravinsky output for two pianos then, superbly recorded and played by two master pianists on cracking form—what more can I say!

-- Gramophone [2/1993]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
Date of Recording: 01/1990 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 33 Minutes 11 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for 2 Pianos by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano), Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 10 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for 2 Pianos by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano), Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931-1935; France 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 20 Minutes 23 Secs. 
4.
Scherzo à la russe by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano), Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1990 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 

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