Hyperion Records

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

Recordings
'Stravinsky: Complete music for piano & orchestra' (CDA67870)
Stravinsky: Complete music for piano & orchestra
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67870  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Hyperion monthly sampler – June 2013' (HYP201306)
Hyperion monthly sampler – June 2013
HYP201306  Download-only monthly sampler   No longer available
Details
Movement 1: Presto
Movement 2: Andante rapsodico
Movement 3: Allegro capriccioso ma tempo giusto

Capriccio
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

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67870 track 6
Andante rapsodico
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-13-87006
Duration
4'56
Recording date
20 May 2012
Recording venue
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Rachel Smith
Recording engineer
David Hinitt & Mike Panayiotis
Hyperion usage
  1. Stravinsky: Complete music for piano & orchestra (CDA67870)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: June 2013
   English   Français   Deutsch