Review


Igor Stravinsky
Pulcinella Suite:

Arranged by Daniel-Ben Pienaar, edited by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Trombone and piano

London, , United Kingdom
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.
Date of Publication: 2019
URL: http://www.boosey.com

Score and solo part, eight movements

Genre: SOLO MATERIALS

Pulcinella is a ballet composed for the Ballets Russes and premiered in Paris in 1920. It features Stravinsky’s brilliant orchestration and reimagining of 18th century Italian music and models. It was one of his first neoclassic scores and an important contribution to a stylistic movement of the twentieth century that continues into the twenty-first century. After the initial success of the ballet, Stravinsky selected 11 movements from the original 18 and turned these into a concert suite for chamber orchestra. This was premiered in Boston in 1922 and has become standard repertoire. Subsequently Stravinsky arranged two more versions, titled Suite Italienne, one for violin and piano and the other for ‘cello and piano. They were composed for Samuel Dushkin (violin) and Gregor Piatigorsky (‘cello). At different times, Stravinsky as pianist did concert tours with both artists and needed more contemporary repertoire. The arrangement for trombone and piano uses the movements and order from the version for chamber orchestra: I. Sinfonia (Ouverture); II. Serenata; III. Scherzino; Allegro; Andantino; IV. Tarantella; V. Toccata; VI. Gavotta con due variazioni; VII. Vivo; VIII. Minuetto e Finale.

From the Publisher: This transcription of Stravinsky’s neoclassical masterpiece is the brainchild of Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, trumpeter, recording producer, writer, University of London Professor and Principal of London’s Royal Academy of Music. Both it and its sister edition for trumpet & piano represent a major addition to the repertory for the respective instruments. The composer’s own violin & cello transcriptions, Suite Italienne, were the precursor for the brass editions, containing a selection of movements, whereas these new publications present the entire suite.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood states: a number of trombonists asked whether, in our discussions with Boosey & Hawkes to publish (the trumpet version) we could request a version for their equally needy (trombone) community. I am grateful to my colleagues at the Royal Academy of Music, Jörgen van Rijen and Matthew Gee – principal players of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic respectively – for their editorial advice.

In keeping with the brass solo instruments, the piano part is more robust than the versions for strings in the Suite Italienne. This is wonderful music, with some Stravinsky twists, in an 18thcentury harmonic, melodic and formal language. The trombone part needs a professional level performer, with good high range, technical command, endurance and great stylistic sensibility.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published April 9, 2020