Anthony Marwood/Thomas Ades, Kings Place, London

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

After the Russian Revolution in 1917 cut him off from homeland and income, Igor Stravinsky went on the road as conductor and pianist to support his family. But from this came a partnership with the violinist Samuel Dushkin for whom Stravinsky composed his Duo Concertante (1932) and made a programme of violin and piano transcriptions from his stage and orchestral scores.

And as that elegant and incisive duo, Anthony Marwood and Thomas Adès, reminded us in their all-Stravinsky bill in the brightly responsive acoustic of the handsome new Hall One at Kings Place, these are no ordinary transcriptions. In reducing items from The Firebird or The Fairy's Kiss to the violin and piano medium, Stravinsky rethought and respaced their every chord. Marwood and Adès opened with the earlier and more difficult of the two violin and piano versions of the Suite Italienne (1924) that Stravinsky made from his Pergolesi-based ballet Pulcinella (1920). Stylistically, the slightly rasping string tone of Marwood's double stops and Adès's crisply weighty piano were spot on.

And with the fantastical detail of the "Song of the Nightingale" and "Chinese March" from The Nightingale (1914/1933), the two players found their top form, and their ensuing account of the Duo Concertante culminated in a reading of its final "Dithyrambe" of truly classical sublimity. Then the players relaxed into a hugely enjoyable dialogue in the transcriptions from The Firebird (1910/1933) and the Divertimento (1934) from the Tchaikovsky-inspired ballet The Fairy's Kiss (1928). After a final fizzing account of the "Danse Russe" from Petrushka (1911/1932), the audience went wild.