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Ravel & Stravinsky / Chloe Kiffer, Alexandre Moutouzkine

Release Date: 02/07/2020
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30103
Composer:  Maurice Ravel ,  Igor Stravinsky Performer:  Chloé Kiffer ,  Alexandre Moutouzkine Number of Discs: 1

French violinist Chloé Kiffer and Russian-American pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine bring compositions by Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky to dazzling life in a collaboration rich in rarely explored musical and personal connection.

R E V I E W S:

To follow up his Steinway & Sons label debut devoted to Cuban piano music, the Russian/American pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine charts relatively familiar territory. His own transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite differs from the Guido Agosti version in that it includes two extra sections (the Introduction and ‘Dance of the Firebird’), and also in regard to Moutouzkine’s more overtly virtuoso piano-writing. He subjects the ‘Infernal Dance’ and ‘Final Hymn’
Read more to a wider array of technical fireworks, from lightning-quick scales in all directions to fistfuls of big, booming chords. It may sound like Stravinsky filtered through Liszt but Moutouzkine gets away with it on account of his frighteningly authoritative fingerwork and a sonority that can fill a stadium.

In the Three Movements from Petrushka... the pianist captures the lyrical melancholy of ‘Chez Pétrouchka’ well, not to mention his superb handling of the extensive marcato passages of ‘La semaine grassé’...

The violinist Chloé Kiffer joins for Ravel’s two sonatas. Her pure and focused tone makes for an attractive foil to Moutouzkine’s hearty pianism and their impassioned, big-boned interpretation keeps the music moving forwards and upwards, minimising its rambling qualities... The duo strike a perfect balance in the central ‘Blues’ movement, where Kiffer’s delicious portamentos are right on the money, stylistically speaking... Fine sound and brief yet well written notes by Adam Hockman."

-- Gramophone "[Chloé Kiffer and Alexandre Mouzouzkine's] first CD brings together works by Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky. The Frenchwoman of Basque origin and the Russian of Saint Petersburg have in common having lived in Paris where they had their first successes.

Alexandre Moutouzkine transcribed the Suite from Stravinsky's ballet L'Oiseau de Feu for solo piano. It is faithful to the work of the Master. We can only comment with superlatives. We have the impression of hearing the whole orchestra. His very virtuoso, pyrotechnic interpretation is sublime...

Moutouzkine makes the score [of Petrushka] shine with all its fire. His acting combines extreme precision, a sense of color, the power of touch and a sense of narrative and drama. It almost makes us forget the legendary version of Maurizio Pollini.

The violinist joins the pianist for the “two” sonatas by Maurice Ravel: the posthumous sonata, an early work quite close to the universe of Claude Debussy, and the famous Sonata for violin and piano. In both works, the duo fascinates us by leading us into a fantastic poetic reverie where the violin twirls around the piano. The virtuoso passages are surrounded with the necessary technical precision and musicality.

Kiffer and Moutouzkine are more than a duo, they are a real sonorous couple. An unwavering link between France and Russia."
Sound: 9 Liner Notes: 9 Repertory: 10 Interpretation: 10

-- Carlo Schreiber, Crescendo [Originally in French]

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