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<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    GENEROUS LYRICISM


Suite italienne is five movements from the Pulcinella music Stravinsky wrote for the Ballet Russe immediately after the First World War. He had been presented with pieces discovered in the Naples Conservatory by Diaghilev and Massine. They were mainly by Pergolesi, and Stravinsky claimed that the resulting confection for three voices and chamber orchestra was the only music of 'his' that he liked. A suite for orchestra followed, then an arrangement for violin and piano, and finally this Suite italienne of 1932. For much of the cello part Stravinsky turned to the Russian virtuoso Piatigorsky. The result is effective cello music, vintage Stravinsky, and dubious Pergolesi [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:05].

Prokofiev's late cello works were inspired by the playing of the young Rostropovich, whom he heard originally in the Cello Concerto that had failed when first performed in 1938. Rostropovich spent two summers with the ailing Prokofiev and was astonished at the patience with which his suggestions were received during the rewriting of the concerto and the gestation of other works. The sonata has an epigraph, 'Man -- that has a proud sound'. The words are by Maxim Gorky, but they characterise the generous lyricism enshrined in the work's very transparent C major. The opening of the Moderato second movement is typical of its mood [listen -- track 10, 0:00-1:13]. The playing throughout is alert and accomplished. The duo is at its best in quieter passages. Increase in volume can produce an over-enthusiasm that forces the medium and verges on roughness.

Copyright © 13 August 2003 Robert Anderson, London UK


Russian Cello Sonatas (Vol II)

PRD 250 195 Stereo REISSUE 66'49" 2003 AMC Paris (Praga Digitals)

Michal Kanka, cello; Jaromír Klepác, piano

Borodin: Sonata in B minor (1860); Stravinsky: Suite Italienne (1932); Prokofiev: Sonata in C Op 119 (1949)



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