coupled with consummate hothouse playing
from one of Crystal’s rare revivals
from the analogue years.
Danses Suisses do not recall
anything Swiss so much as Petrushka’s
stomped out Easter Fair (9:01).
The following sly and charming Scherzo
– all 3:16 of it – might be by Kreisler
on a thorny day. The Pas de Deux
has the most patent tribute to Tchaikovsky
whose Snow Maiden music was mined
to produce this ingratiating dessert
to the meat represented by the Duo-Concertant.
Both works were written for Samuel Dushkin
(1891-1976) as was Stravinsky’s Violin
Concerto (1931) – and all date from
the early 1930s. Utmost virtuosity,
salon sentiment and pell-mell energy
characterize the finale.
was premiered on Berlin Radio
on 28 October 1932. Stravinsky recorded
it in Berlin with Szigeti on 11-13 October
1945 (Sony’s Igor Stravinsky Edition
SM2K 46297). The first Eclogue reconnects
with the Easter Fair mood while
the second is astonishingly pastoral-meditative.
The Gigue is bouncily jaunty
and optimistic while the searchingly
melodic Dithyrambe is unflinchingly
probing. The composer and Szigeti in
their superbly spruced up 1945 recording
give the work a cooler spin than Shapiro
and Smith whose ardour infuses emotional
intensity into its pages.
The Foss quartet
is his first and only effort in the
medium. It is a work of vibrantly rippling
melodic musculature and it is no surprise
to realise that it was written by a
23 year old. Although
in a single movement it falls into three
segments played without pause: a dazzlingly
sensuous, thrumming and full-lipped
Introduction, a tender theme and variations
which at times drifts into Dvořák
territory and a bustling and tangy finale.
Every instrumental stratum is
packed tight with eagerly engaging invention.
The players are grippingly recorded
in close-quarters sound. They engage
with passion in music that touches on
the styles of rural Copland, dance-driven
Celticism (Moeran and Bax 1), ripe Tippett-like
ardour and a sumptuous polyphonic weave.
These recordings have
had to be resurrected from vinyl originals
and you can hear the occasional artefact
of this origin. The Foss disc must have
been in good heart but there is the
odd scuff and brush on the Divertimento
Eudice Shapiro is a
graduate of the Curtis Institute of
Music and a former student of Ivan Shapiro
and Efrem Zimbalist. She has appeared
as soloist with Goossens, Stravinsky
and Izler Solomon. So far as the Crystal
catalogue is concerned you can hear
Eudice Shapiro in Lou
Harrison’s violin concerto on CD850
but also on CD302 in various Stravinsky
works with the Ernst Toch sonata.
The works on the present
disc have more melodic concentration
in common than you may at first have
guessed. The Foss demands to be heard.
The Stravinsky pieces show the composer
as passionate and engaging at a more
human level than was his wont in later
years. Certainly the two Dushkin-associated
works defy the sometimes ascetic tendencies
of the Violin Concerto.