Composing at the piano was a life-long preoccupation for Stravinsky, whose music for the instrument spans a forty-year period and reflects his distinct stylistic changes. In his FourEtudes of 1908 the use of complex rhythmical patterns between the hands makes for fiendishly difficult execution. The clarity of each of the 1924 Sonata’s three movements recalls the musical language of the eighteenth century. In 1925 Stravinsky embarked on a groundbreaking tour of the United States, where he signed his first recording contract for Brunswick. It was for this company that he wrote the Serenade, designing each movement to fit neatly on one side of a 78rpm gramophone record.
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