The Gramophone Choice
Anthony Marwood vn Thomas Adès pf
Hyperion CDA67723 (88’ · DDD) Buy from Amazon
At the 2005 Aldeburgh Festival Marwood and Adès gave a recital of Stravinsky’s violin and piano works and it was immediately apparent that theirs was a remarkable partnership, confirmed when Marwood gave the premiere of Adès’s Violin Concerto later that year.
If Stravinsky didn’t feel like writing tunes himself – and there are plenty here – he just swiped them from somebody else: Pergolesi in Pulcinella, Tchaikovsky in The Fairy’s Kiss. But he made the violin and piano versions himself, except the Tango, for his recitals with Samuel Dushkin in the 1930s, and they are recompositions rather than just arrangements.
There are old friends. Three numbers from The Firebird, with a mesmeric ‘Berceuse’; the exhilarating ‘Danse russe’ from Petrushka stunningly delivered; and a reworked aria from the chamber opera Mavra. The Tango was written in America in 1940 as a pop song but not used, and the version here was made by Dushkin. The opening improbably recalls Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and Marwood gets the insidiously erotic inflections of the Trio just right. The only original work here is the Duo concertant, vintage neo-classical Stravinsky with styles ranging from coolly lyrical to busy. All these demands are superbly met by Marwood and Adès with immaculate rhythmic precision. The piano is sometimes aggressive but the engineers usually cope.