Stravinsky Divertimento; Shostakovich Violin Sonata Op 134
Though the booklet-note writer declares that between Stravinsky and Shostakovich there is a ‘disparity in the conception of musical art which could not be greater’, they actually share qualities that make this a fascinating record. One is the love of dance rhythms. It is obvious in the use of some of Tchaikovsky’s songs and piano pieces for Stravinsky’s Divertimento based on his ballet The Fairy’s Kiss, and it is again strongly present in the klezmer-like Allegretto of Shostakovich’s powerful Sonata; all seized upon with great brio here, as they need to be. There is also the invocation of earlier composers, with Stravinsky’s exuberant Tchaikovsky transformations and with Shostakovich’s profound homages to Bach.
Ingolfsson and Stoupel draw the Bach inspiration out in the deceptively straightforward opening Andante and in the long Largo finale to Shostakovich’s Sonata, a marvellous, haunting piece of extended musical thought which is handled with superb control. There is also a less readily identifiable but very Russian sense of energy in the more vigorous dance music, which can seem to be on the verge of breaking out of control, especially in the Shostakovich’s central movement. Both composers also respond to the inspiration of bell sounds, something again very Russian and vividly invoked here.
These are both strong, perceptive performances, recorded closely and lucidly, in which the complicated ambiguities in the music of both composers take hold powerfully below the sometimes jaunty surface.