Igor Stravinsky

Pastorale, song without words for violin & piano (transcribed with Samuel Dushkin)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This work is derived from the Pastorale (1907) for voice and piano, one of Stravinsky's earliest works. In early 1931, the composer met violinist Samuel Dushkin, who aided him in the composition of his Violin Concerto in D, much in the manner Joachim did for Brahms. But Dushkin also collaborated with Stravinsky in other works, including the Suite Italienne, fashioned from Stravinsky's ballet Pulcinella.

    The Pastorale is not a strict transcription: Stravinsky's vocal Pastorale lasts about four minutes, whereas this "lengthened" version for violin and piano is about two minutes longer. The music sounds quite at home on the violin, not least because the original work was a song without words. Prokofiev transcribed his Five Melodies for Voice and Piano, also a textless work, for violin and piano in similar fashion.

    In this version the music is served well and its lengthening fully justified. The main theme is a lovely, flowing melody underpinned by a drone-like harmony in the piano's bass and a second theme on its upper register. No new thematic material is added in the violin/piano version. Stravinsky made a second transcription of the Pastorale at this time, also in an expanded form, scoring it for violin, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, and bassoon. This version was based on the 1923 transcription the composer made of Pastorale for the same combination of instruments, but with no expansion of materials. Stravinsky and Dushkin premiered the work in about 1933.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon B002398272
    2011 Newton Classics 8802062
    2010 Hyperion 67723
    2010 Orchid Classics 100003
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 911918
    2003 Andante AN 1100
    2002 Arion 68062
    1999 Chandos 9756
    1995 Town Hall 45
    Memories 3004
    Newport Classic 85563
    Biddulph Recordings 80218