Stravinsky: Diversions

Tony Way
The Age Green Guide (Australia)
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TALENTED young violinist Ray Chen is entirely alive to the changing moods and styles of Stravinsky’s works for violin and piano. The works themselves (including this selection) are a mixed bag: from the neoclassical Suite inspired by Pergolesi to the more “modern” Duo concertante and the Divertimento through to the arrangements of items from the stage works such as Russian Maiden’s Song from the opera Mavra and the Russian Dance from Petrushka that concludes the recital. Such a variety of genres makes significant demands on the interpreter and Chen rises to all the challenges. The clarity and elegance that evoke the baroque world of Pergolesi in turn give way to the expressive and technical demands of the later works (including the manic finale of the Divertimento and the plangent ending of the Duo concertante). In the end, Chen revels in the energy, passion and humour of the folkloric world, giving a mercurial account of the Russian Dance. Timothy Young is a sympathetic partner throughout and the presentation is up to Melba’s usual high standards.