The Music Plays On

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Aaron Copland with Carlos Chávez, Artur Rubinstein, Igor Stravinsky and Claire Booth Luce, 1950 — Alfred Eisenstadt

Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Petrouchka or Three Movements from Petrushka is a piano piece that he wrote ten years after the premiere of the ballet, Petrushka. It was written for the sole purpose of influencing the great pianist, and Stravinsky’s friend, Arthur Rubinstein, to play his music. It is, indeed, dedicated to Rubinstein. Stravinsky was very clear that these three pieces were not merely transcriptions of the original orchestral score, but specifically voiced for written for a pianist, albeit an extremely pianist!

The three movements that Stravinsky chose from the ballet score are:

  1. Danse russe (Russian Dance)
  2. Chez Pétrouchka (Petrushka’s Room)
  3. La semaine grasse (The Shrovetide Fair)

He finished the three movements in August 1921 at Anglet, France. Here is a phenomenal recording of the great Rubinstein performing it in Carnegie Hall in 1961.

One of the most beautifully filmed performances of anything is this black and white gem of Alexis Weissenberg performing it.

I love this entire album of Beatrice Rana, but the Stravinsky is particularly impressive.

And here are some of my other favorite recordings and performances.