Olli Mustonen / Isabelle van Keulen STRAVINSKY The Works for Piano & Violin

As Brahms had Joachim and Britten had Rostropovich, so, too, did Igor Stravinsky have a significant relationship with a performer who inspired an abundance of music. In Stravinsky's case, it was violinist Samuel Dushkin; the two collaborated together as performers, which resulted in the arrangement of several of Stravinsky's works for violin and piano. It also yielded the masterful and surprisingly lyrical Duo Concertante. The complete works for violin and piano fill two discs on this Newton Classics album featuring violinist Isabelle van Keulen and pianist Olli Mustonen. Equally at home playing standard repertoire as lesser-known modern works, and on the viola as well as the violin, van Keulen offers up some dazzling, nicely stylized performances of Stravinsky and Dushkin's collaborations. Her playing is fiery and brazen while still delivering some warm subtlety when called for in the score. The lyrical moments in Stravinsky's writing are played with a beautiful legato sound and effortless shifts. The well-known Suite Italienne is performed with moments of austere elegance, breathtaking beauty, and flashiness. Van Keulen and Mustonen form an exceptionally tight-knit ensemble wherein pacing, dynamics, balance, and musical intent are completely unified. Originally recorded in 1987-1988, Newton's sound on this is disc is admirably clean and simple. (Mike D. Brownell)

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