- Sonata for piano
- Concerto for piano & wind instruments: Movement 1
- L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), ballet in 2 scenes for piano (reduction)
Given all the great orchestral music written by Stravinsky, it's easy to forget that he was also a pianist. He often transcribed his works for piano, piano duet, or in this case, piano roll. The three works here give some insight to not only his own performance style, but also to how he recognized that a player piano is a different animal than a normal piano. The instrument on this disc is slightly muffled, particularly in the lower registers, which gives it something of an unnatural sound. However, you do get Stravinsky's original pedalings and dynamics, which are actually quite colorful. Much of the "Sonata" is played with that detached pointillism many people use when playing Bach, making its Baroque inflections that much more obvious. The first movement of the "Concerto for piano and winds" and "The Firebird" are where you can hear that Stravinsky took advantage of the capabilities of the player piano. He didn't have to worry about how many notes one or two pianists at one keyboard could play at the same time. In the "Concerto" especially, the texture is so full, the only reason you miss the winds is because you can't necessarily tell what was originally the soloist's part. "The Firebird" isn't quite as deeply textured, but it does utilize some speedy passagework that only could be achieved cleanly by mechanical means. It also loses some of its dimensions from the colors of the different orchestral instruments, but it loses nothing of the energy or spirit of the ballet. The disc gives us an interesting perspective of Stravinsky as both composer and performer.