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Record Box

Four-handed music

Igor Kipnis & Karen Kushner,
with BASIL RAMSEY


Parnassus    PACD 96030

Igor Kipnis & Karen Kushner (c) 1999 Parnassus Records

 

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 Hughes.

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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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews