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Continental composers through the decades up to the mid 20th century could scarcely escape the influence of American jazz -- among them Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) (in La Création du Monde, 1923, and Scaramouche for two pianos, 1941), Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) (in Boléro, 1928, plus his Piano Concerto in G, 1929-31) and Dmitri Shostakovitch (1906-1975) (Youman's Tea for Two, orchestrated, in 45 minutes, for a bet by Nicolai Malko, 1928, and Two 'Jazz Suites', 1934 and 1938).

Stravinsky was no exception. Kuschnerova revels in her concluding US item; the Stravinsky Tango, written first thing after the composer moved to Hollywood in 1940. This diverting piece is unmistakably a tango, yet it still embodies the composer's zaniest trade-mark imprint [listen -- track 25, 2:28-3:26].

For those eager to add a recorded programme of Stravinsky's most significant piano works to their collections, Kuschnerova's CD concert is now unrivalled.

Copyright © 7 October 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Elena Kuschnerova - Igor Stravinsky, Klavierwerke

ARS 38 444 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 63'40" 2005 Ars Produktion

Elena Kuschnerova, piano

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): 4 Etudes Op 7 (Con moto; Allegro brillante; Andantino; Vivo); Sonate (1924) (Viertel=112; Adagietto; Viertel=112); 'Les cinq doigts', Acht Klavierstücke im Fünftonumfang (1920-21) (Andantino; Allegro; Allegretto; Larghetto; Moderato; Lento; Vivo; Pesante); Serenade in A (1925) (Hymne; Romanza; Rondoletto; Cadenza finala); 3 Mouvements de 'Pétrouchka' (1921) (Danse russe; Chez Pétrouchka; La semaine grasse); 2 Stücke aus 'Pulcinella' nach Giambattista Pergolesi (1920) (Scherzino; Gavotta con variationi); Tango (1940)




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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller