The piano duet repertory was liberally bestowed by Schubert in the first
place, and has since grown substantially, although from the listener's point
of view the upper reaches of the piano become shrill after a short while.
A great deal of listenability also depends on the sensitivity of the duo
and recording quality, which in this case is taken from variable sources.
Choice of music is excellent, from Schubert to a 1998 piece by the Brazilian
Calimerio Soares. The Schubert is Divertissement à l'hongroise,
in three movements and 25 minutes' of charm and delight. Brahms' Liebeslieder
Waltzes are better known in this duet version than that with voices,
and to my mind fare better this way.
Then it falls to Ravel to enchant us with the Mother Goose suite,
and our intrepid duettists have placed two extra pieces herein that were
later transcribed by Lucien Garban. Extending the French connection, the
ardent Wagnerians Fauré and Messager disport their combined quadrilles'
roundup of motives from Wagner's Ring, which remains a peculiar hybrid.
Finally comes a fast dance piece by Calimerio Soares, and an 'encore'
piece from Gershwin's late teens -- Rialto Ripples -- arranged by Walden
As an excursion through piano duets from Schubert onwards the mix is
wide, the music varied and entertaining. But I still feel the buzz with
piano duets is greater for the performers than listeners.
Copyright © 28 March 2001
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
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