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<<  -- 4 --  Bill Newman    'LIGHT SHINING THROUGH'


This does require looking at both orchestral and piano versions, but in the case of Koechlin's Opus 163 -- Danses pour Ginger (En hommage à Ginger Rogers) for two pianos -- some of the movements are still in sketched format. 'There's a guy living in Germany, concert-master to the Kassel Orchestra; he is gathering all the music together and the whole thing will be published by Schotts. He knows all of Koechlin, and there were only minor bits missing. But it was not orchestrated, so he made an edition which works well. Our performance was a première.' Odd movements have been recorded using one piano (see Planning your collection) but not the whole work for piano duo.

How often does one find simplicity tempered by complexity? It is true of Mozart, but Koechlin has other kinds of performing problems. 'You would never believe the hard work we had to put in to obtain relation and rapport in our parts. Bearing in mind he always thought orchestrally, we had to establish exactly the right fingering. Normally, you can trust your fingers in slow passages, and pianists know their strong ones and can make a choice, but here music that looks easy, once we started preparing it we had to spend a long time to get things right. Especially the Sonatines. At one stage I was actually writing in the correct fingering under each note, and with the virtuoso, colourful passages we had so many difficulties before we were absolutely satisfied. So it was a challenge to make it transparent, smooth, so that the light would shine through all the time.'

This relaxed, singing quality that I hear in your playing; how problematic is it to achieve this? I instanced the Fantaisie in D minor on the first of their complete Schubert CDs. 'I will admit when I first played it, I didn't understand Schubert. All my life I had difficulties with this composer; I could play the music manually, no problem -- but I didn't feel it and it was a horror for me. I lacked the emotional grasp of his style, but working with Andreas over seven or eight years -- and it took that long before we performed and recorded them -- I began to understand. Now I really love his music. I learnt a lot!' Andreas Groethuysen was born in Munich, not far from Vienna, and he is in control of the bass line where he establishes the correct rhythms from which the nuances evolve quite naturally.

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Copyright © 5 December 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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