Stravinsky: Violin Concerto, Works for Violin & Piano CD review – power and poetry

Fiona Maddocks writes .....

Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto remains puzzlingly underplayed, a neoclassical masterpiece dating from 1931. The composer worried that, as a non-violinist, he wasn’t equipped to write idiomatically. It’s certainly fiercely hard, opening with big, strident chords and exploiting the instrument’s staccato brilliance. The inner movements, Arias I and II, are more song-like, mysterious and singular. The Russian violinist Liana Gourdjia, also a regular chamber music player, gives a spiky, robust performance on a spirited disc that includes the Chanson Russe, Danse Russe (from Pétrouchka), Berceuse (from The Firebird), Divertimento and Suite italienne. This is gutsy playing, full of power and poetry, with crisp orchestral support.