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I have been waiting a long time for a good modern recording of Stravinsky’s three works for piano and orchestra (the Capriccio, Movements and the Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments). The Capriccio has fared comparatively well on disc – Stravinsky himself recorded it, while John Ogdon coupled it with Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto. The benchmark in the concerto and the Capriccio was set by Philippe Entremont, who recorded them with the composer (CBS, 1966). Michel Béroff (HMV, 1980) and Olli Mustonen (Decca, 1993) have both recorded all three works, as has Paul Crossley (Sony, 1990).

Hyperion’s new release is timely and welcome. Osborne’s interpretations sound well prepared, the product of long acquaintance (less so, perhaps, in Movements) although the concert archive on his website records just three outings of the concerto only. His playing exhibits a detachment one imagines Stravinsky would have approved of, while being alive to the music’s diverse stylistic influences. The Capriccio is more approachable and immediately appealing; Osborne relishes its open, vivacious and dynamic writing.

The serial severity of Movements comes as a huge jolt, yet Osborne negotiates its challenges most adroitly. Coupled with sparkling accounts of the Concerto in D for strings and two orchestral trifles which allow Volkov and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to shine, this – with superb sound from Hyperion – is now the market leader for these works. Strongly recommended.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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