Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Senecio (1922) by Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67870
Recording details: May 2012
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by David Hinitt & Mike Panayiotis
Release date: June 2013
Total duration: 17 minutes 6 seconds

'The Concerto for piano and wind … places huge demands on soloist, conductor and also recording engineers, all of whom sail through unscathed by the technical problems and the difficult sonorities' (Gramophone)

'With Steven Osborne as soloist, the concertante works are in exceptionally good hands … after the Capriccio's grandiose opening, Osborne's tight control of the piano's insistent, driving textures provides a firm foundation for the opening movement's unexpected humanity and charm' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This superb disc on which Steven Osborne manifests both his rhythmic élan and his refined sense of tonal shading, underpinning the performances with virile energy … the string-orchestra Concerto in D and two pithy orchestral miniatures complete an outstanding album' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Osborne and Volkov judge them perfectly—keeping the Concerto, as well as the slightly later Capriccio, on a tight rein, and threading a lucid path through the thickets and intricacies of the Movements' (The Guardian)

'A wonderfully ebullient, rhythmically alert performance, and the recorded sound captures the work's utterly individual sonorities very well, with crystal clarity. Volkov's conducting has a drive and energy that matches Osborne's thrilling performance of the solo part … the Capriccio is only rarely heard in the concert hall, but it deserves to be played much more often, and from Osborne it receives the most persuasive advocacy. I don't think I've heard a more immediately engaging recording of the piece … the notes by Charles M Joseph are a mine of information and the recorded sound is excellent. Philippe Entremont and Stravinsky himself are impressive in the Concerto for piano and wind but Osborne and Volkov are lighter on their toes and theirs is a really splendid performance (I can't think of a better one on CD)' (International Record Review)

'This fine Stravinsky series … Steven Osborne plays all with diamantine brilliance' (The Sunday Times)

'The outstanding work here is the Concerto for piano and wind instruments, played by Osborne in a way that finds wit in the rhythmic quirks while lending substance to the music's 18th-century references … alert accompaniments from the BBC SSO under Ilan Volkov' (Financial Times)

Capriccio
composer
1928/9; first performed in December 1929 in Paris by the composer, Ernest Ansermet conducting

Presto  [6'43]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Composed in 1928–9 mostly in Nice, the Capriccio for piano and orchestra is, in effect, Stravinsky’s second piano concerto. So eager were audiences to see the composer perform his own works that he was regularly urged to write a sequel to his Concerto for piano and wind instruments. Indeed Stravinsky was in such demand as a pianist that he could only compose intermittently, as his touring would allow. The Capriccio was the only new work written in 1929. It is of comparable length to the earlier Concerto; but the similarities stop there. Here the composer employs a full orchestra rather than a wind ensemble and takes full advantage of the addition of strings. Moreover, the piano writing stands in stark contrast to the earlier Concerto. While the outer movements of the Concerto were firmly rooted in the piano’s natural percussiveness, the Capriccio is far more lyrical. There are still passages that hark back to the assertive writing of such wind works as the Octet and Concerto for piano and wind instruments, but for the most part the Capriccio’s melodious writing reflects Stravinsky’s more recent compositions, especially the two important ballets Apollo and The Fairy’s Kiss. As for the title, the composer wrote in his Chronicle that he had in mind a fantasia, meaning a freely structured form that would give voice to a more impromptu-like, capricious style of writing.

The first movement begins with an introduction marked Presto that quickly gives way to the movement’s main material—displaying piano writing that explores the entire keyboard in an unending, continuously expansive manner. From start to finish, with little opportunity for the soloist to grab a breath, the pianist must shape the long, mellifluous lines as part of an unbroken fabric. The movement ends with a restatement of the opening material.

The heading of the middle movement, Andante rapsodico, indicates that the composer was once again writing in an almost improvisatory style, replete with rapid rhythmic figurations of nine-, eleven- and thirteen-note groupings. The resulting flights of fancy are reminiscent of the highly ornamental embroidery evident in the music of Carl Maria von Weber, who, as Stravinsky recalled in his Chronicle, exercised a ‘spell’ over him at the time.

This second movement leads without pause into the final Allegro capriccioso ma tempo giusto from whence the title of the work springs, since this third movement was in fact composed first. The form is stricter here, adhering to the principles of a classical rondo. The perpetual-motion writing that propels the movement is brilliantly spun throughout both the piano and orchestra.

The Capriccio was premiered at a Paris Symphony concert in December 1929 with Stravinsky at the piano and his friend Ernest Ansermet on the podium; the composer later revised the score in 1949, but only with minor alterations. Nearly forty years after its premiere, the Capriccio found a new home on stage with George Balanchine’s 1968 ballet Jewels, in which Stravinsky’s music was employed in the ‘Rubies’ section of this perennially popular New York City Ballet production.

from notes by Charles M Joseph © 2013

Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch