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A new CD of French music
considered by BASIL RAMSEY

Deux-Elles    DXL 1040

La Valse for Piano Duet. (p) 2001 Deux-Elles Ltd


Whilst I spent hours with my father playing mostly transcriptions of orchestral works for piano duet, I longed for the chance of hearing them in their original, for which the opportunity eventually arose.
Engrained therefore was the feeling of duets poised at an intermediate stage between that and the orchestral originals.

But a repertory of original duets that grew over the 19th and 20th centuries, a nucleus of which can claim merit as good music in its own right, has also established favour in orchestral versions. This programme is entirely French, embracing the delicious Jeux d'enfants by Bizet and Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye with duet versions of Debussy's Prélude à l'aprés-midi d'un faune and Ravel's La Valse [listen -- track 19, 11:45-12:45].

Playing much gossamer texture is a trial of endurance for piano duettists, who need more control than ever in balanced projection. Moore and Crawford-Phillips, fully aware of the challenges, give an impressive display of their ability to play as one. It is an achievement, although many will still prefer orchestral versions to the steely glitter of a piano duet.


Copyright © 5 January 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK






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