> Spring in America (Antheil - Bruzdowicz) [RB]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Spring in America
George ANTHEIL (1900-1959)

Violin Sonata No. 1 (1923) [26.14]
Violin Sonata No. 2 (1923) [7.35]
Joanna BRUZDOWICZ (b.1943)

Violin Sonata (1994) [14.45]
Trio dei Due Mondi for piano trio (1980) [9.38]
Robert Szreder (violin)
Boguslaw Jan Strobel (piano)
Tomasz Strahl (cello)
rec Polish Radio, Warsaw,1996 DDD
PAVANE ADW 7355 [65.55]


Experience Classicsonline

In the Sonata Bruzdowicz's writes bravura for the violin which plays front-desk to the subservient piano role. I was very taken with the andante's yearning simplicity (3.34, tr 2). Quite apart from the case-hardened Kodaly-like idiom the Polish-born composer has an evidently strong allegiance to tonality and folksong. Dissonance and tonal fracture-lines appear in the Trio with yet more confidence refreshed by the soundworld of Beethoven's late quartets. Bruzdowicz is much in the debt of three such dedicated Polish artists.

Antheil arrived like a splash of molten metal in the early 1920s scandalising audiences with his Airplane Sonata and like titles. The two violin sonatas are from the same year being dedicated to Olga Rudge and written at the commission of the poet Ezra Pound, Ms Rudge's lover. The First Sonata bears the impress of Stravinsky's Sacre (try the start of the third movement but the evidence is there in the first as well) and, as the notes remind us, Antheil was for a while viewed as Stravinsky's successor; this while Stravinsky was still very much with us! Listen to track 05 at 3.00 for the fruitily attacked downward slides of the violin for all the world like an eldritch analogue of Fontaine d'Arethuse or Tzigane. The Second Sonata is in one movement as against the classical four of the First. While it has the stuka-dive violin glissandi of the First (III) it is much more taken up with dissecting and playing with American (adopted or natural) popular music such as ragtime (with which Stravinsky also dallied), jazz and tango. Is it possible that Peter Maxwell Davies knew of this piece before he wrote his St Thomas Wake? In a coup de théâtre the piano is abandoned at 0700 (tr 8 onwards) and tenor and bass drum put in an accompanimental appearance.

Rob Barnett


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