The premise here is the odd pairing of piano music by Beethoven and Stravinsky, one of the few composers to go on record as saying he actively disliked Beethoven's music. The piano, moreover, was central to Beethoven's output and peripheral in Stravinsky's. Israeli pianist Einav Yarden faces a tall order in her "oscillations" between what seem like two musical poles, and the appeal of the program is that, despite the title, she makes the pieces involved seem reasonably closely related to each other. There are several steps to this, beginning with the selection of material. The Beethoven sonatas and especially the Bagatelles, Op. 119, at the end of the program might be said to represent Beethoven at his most "Stravinskian," with a dry, witty tone, structures built on precise manipulations of humorous ideas, and a lack of drama and strongly directional motion. Yarden goes on to apply a common style to all of the music, one that pushes Beethoven forward and Stravinsky backward into the Romantic era. She uses lots of pedal and turns all the music into something resembling a Schumann character piece, something that works well enough again in the Beethoven bagatelles and in the large number of short Stravinsky pieces included. The interpretations are unusual enough on their own to be worth hearing, but the connections they draw, roughly summed up by the statement that Romantic ideas are applicable to both Beethoven and Stravinsky, are equally original. An offbeat program that really works.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, op. 14/2|
|Sonata for piano|
|Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, op. 10/2|
|Three easy pieces for piano duet|
|Le Cinq Doits|
|Eleven Bagatelles, op. 119|