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<<  -- 3 --  Bill Newman    BERLIN FESTIVAL DIARY


A change of venue next evening took me to the strange, very decrepit Sophiensæle situated in the centre of the city. It can be hard to find with so many pubs and night clubs in the vicinity. It is discovered from a courtyard up two flights of steps to a dingy reception area with a bar. Gaping holes in the floor and plaster crumbling off the walls and ceiling lead to the dimly-lit saal itself. Aptly, the gathering of an audience was in a motley array of apparel, ranging from smart to decrepit.

I could not see the piano duo -- Tal and Groethuysen. If I had read the programme properly I would have known that Peter Mussbach, with his novel approach to presentation (read my interview with Yaara Tal) had something up his sleeve, which explained why the pianos were behind the seating area. The programme was a survey of the keyboard music of Charles Koechlin for four hands at one and two pianos: the Suite Op 19, four French Sonatines Op 60, Portrait of Daisy Hamilton Op 140, Dances for Ginger (the famous Ginger Rogers) and the Suite Op 6.

From Wigmore Hall recitals and an auspicious event in Stuttgart promoted by CBS/Sony and Fazioli Pianos, Koechlin's orchestral music is well represented on disc. Sadly, his keyboard music is not. It is fascinating, particularly played so compellingly by two remarkable artists as here. The sound definition was excellent.

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Copyright © 5 December 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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