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Cat. No. CHAN 9756 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9756 - Stravinsky: Works for Violin & Piano
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Available From: 16 September 1999
The First World War and the 1917 Russian revolution cut Stravinsky off from the financial security he had known, leaving him with chronic insecurity. Added to a life-long interest in writing for performers that he knew and for himself, it is no surprising to find that in the inter-war years many of his compositions were designed as vehicles for his own life as a touring money-making pianist.

Stravinsky admitted that, although working on the Violin Concerto with Dushkin had made him more aware of the violin’s possibilities, he had until that time taken ‘no pleasure in the blend of strings stuck in the piano with the strings set in vibration by the bow’. The stylistic range of the Duo is wide: an opening ‘Cantilène ‘, a bagpipe drone in ‘Eglogue’, a neo-classical ‘Gigue’ and a melancholy ‘Dithyrambe’.

In searching for material to adapt for piano and violin, the earliest piece Stravinsky turned to was the song Pastorale composed in 1907. A wordless vocalise, it fitted the new medium well. Like all the other arrangements that Stravinsly played with Dushkin, it is headed ‘arrangé pour violon et piano par l’auteur et Samuel Dushkin’: their mode of working was for Dushkin to extract a violin part from the original material and then for Stravinsky to re-work what remained.

The Danse russe from Pétrouchka ends the first scene, and in the note-patterns revolving continually in a narrow range it looks forward to much of Stravinsky’s output in the following decade. The Suite italienne comes from the ballet Pulchinella and Chandos russe from his unsuccessful Opera Mavra. Divertimento and Ballad both come from Le Baiser de la fée.

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