Stravinsky: Violin Concerto; Scherzo à la Russe; Apollon Musagète; Orchestral Suites

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto; Scherzo à la Russe; Apollon Musagète; Orchestral Suites

CHSA 5340 (Chandos Records, SACD)

FIRST RELEASE (5 January 2024)

Playing time: 69'56"
Tracks: 23
Booklet pages: 32
℗ 2024 Chandos Records Ltd
© 2024 Chandos Records Ltd
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Stravinsky: Violin Concerto; Scherzo à la Russe; Apollon Musagète; Orchestral Suites published on 6 January 2024

James Ehnes, violin (tracks 1-4)
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Zoë Beyers, leader
Andrew Davis, conductor

Igor Stravinsky:

Concerto K 053 in D for violin and orchestra (1931)
1 Toccata. Tempo crotchet=96
2 Aria I. Tempo crotchet=116 - Più mosso - Più lento -
Tempo I - [ ] - Tempo I
3 Aria II. Tempo quaver=48 - Poco più mosso - Tempo I
4 Capriccio. Tempo quaver=120 - Poco più tranquillo - Subito più mosso - Presto

5 Scherzo à la russe, K 070 (1945) (Symphonic Version of Work for Jazz Band, 1943-44): Con moto - Trio - Scherzo - Trio II - Scherzo [da capo]

Suite No 1, K 045 (1925) for Small Orchestra - Arrangement of Nos 1, 4, 2 and 3 from Cinq Pièces faciles (Five Easy Pieces), K 025 (1916-17) for Piano Four Hands. À Mme Eugénie de Errazuriz
6 Andante. crotchet=86-92
7 Napolitana. dotted crotchet=144
8 Española. dotted crotchet=54
9 Balalaïka. crotchet=144-132

Suite No 2, K 038 (1921) for Small Orchestra - arrangement of Trois Pièces faciles (Three Easy Pieces), K 021 (1914-15) for Piano Four Hands and No 5 from Cinq Pièces faciles (Five Easy Pieces), K 025 (1916-17) for Piano Four Hands
10 Marche. crotchet=80
11 Valse. dotted minim=66 – [Trio I] – [Valse] –
[Trio II] Rubato-Tempo-Rubato-Tempo-Rubato-Tempo - [Valse]
12 Polka. crotchet=96
13 Galop. crotchet=126 - Trio - [Galop da capo]

Apollon musagète, K 048 (1927-28,revised 1947) - Ballet en deux tableaux (Ballet in Two Scenes) for String Orchestra
Premier Tableau (prologue)
14 Naissance d’Apollon. Largo - [Rideau] - [Apollon vient au monde (Apollo arrives on Earth)] – Allegro [Apparition des deux déesses (Appearance of the two Goddesses)] – Tempo I –
[Lumière. Nouveau décor. Apollon seul sur la scène
(Light. Change of scene. Apollo alone on stage)
Second Tableau
15 Variation d'Apollon (Apollon et les Muses) crotchet=66 –
L'istesso tempo - Meno mosso [Apparition de Calliope, Polymnie et Terpsichore (Appearance of Calliope, Polyhymnia, and Terpsichore)]
16 Pas d'Action. Apollon et les trois Muses: Calliope, Polymnie
et Terpsichore. Moderato -
17 Variation de Calliope (l'Alexandrin). Que toujours dans vos vers le sens coupant les mots Suspende l'héémistiche et marque le repos. (Always in your verses, let the meaning clip the words, Suspend the hemistich, and mark its rest.) (Boileau) Allegretto – Poco meno mosso –
18 Variation de Polymnie. Allegro –
19 Variation de Terpsichore. Allegretto –
20 Variation d'Apollon. Lento -
21 Pas de Deux. Apollon et Terpsichore. Adagio -
22 Coda (Apollon et les Muses). Vivo - Tempo sostenuto -
Agitato -
23 Apothéose. Largo e tranquillo

One of the foremost musicians of his generation, James Ehnes continues to dazzle audiences around the world. Here he joins the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis in a recording of Stravinsky's Violin Concerto. Written for the Polish virtuoso Samuel Dushkin, the four-movement work takes the music of Bach as its inspiration, and is built around a chord of the notes D, E, and A, which Stravinsky described as his 'passport to the concerto' and with which the solo violin part opens each movement. Dushkin gave the première, conducted by Stravinsky, in Berlin in 1932. Apollon musagète, a ballet in two parts for string orchestra, was written in 1927-28, and demonstrates the composer's complete rejection of the Russian folk music and idioms that had been so instrumental in his previous ballets (The Firebird and Petrushka). They are replaced by a concentration on 'pure form', which became known as his neo-classical style. The album is completed by his two orchestral suites - light-hearted music arranged from piano duets he had written in the 1910s - and Scherzo à la russe, a showpiece for the Paul Whiteman band that he composed in the early 1940s when newly arrived in California.

Recorded on 9 February 2023 (Violin Concerto, Scherzo à la russe, Suite No 2) and 13 February 2023 (other works) at MediaCityUK, Salford, Manchester, UK.