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Kipnis' Cocktails

Dances by Dvorák, Brahms and Grieg -
reviewed by JENNIFER PAULL

'This particular mosaic of magical components is just right!'

Dvorák, Brahms, Grieg - Dances for four hands - The Kipnis - Kushner Duo. © 2001 Palatine Recordings

'When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.'

- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Igor Kipnis had more than a talent for absorbing positive knowledge. He was a sponge. Yet of all the qualities in his variegated universe, fantasy, his common denominator, permeated them all with a sprinkling of humour.

He invented his own Kipnis Cocktail and carried the laminated list of ingredients, plus a winning smile around with him everywhere. Woe betide the barman who was not up to the mark! The cocktail story was published in Fi Magazine (fi as in hi-fi.): just one witty and amusing glimpse of a true artist in every sense of the word. Kipnis could wield a camera, jump up from the piano/harpsichord stool, and shoot the conductor (photographically) during forty bars rest. He knew about light and timing, about fun and fizz. He knew about them in all his mutli-flavoured undertakings.

How can such an independent, imaginative and freethinking performer find the perfect team-mate for a piano duo? The answer must surely be the same as to the riddle, 'How do two hedgehogs mate?' 'With great difficulty!'

Karen Kushner and Igor Kipnis performed together with four hands, one piano and one soul. I can't pretend that the repertoire on this CD is the habitual nourishment of my own. I admit it; I am not a Romantic as far as music is concerned! Had someone told me that I would be playing and replaying Dvorák, Brahms and Grieg with delight, I would have ordered the deluded soul a stiff double Kipnis Cocktail, subito! I have a certain in-built firewall against much Romantic music. Their hacking through and ensnaring me is therefore all the more victorious, and to their credit!

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Copyright © 31 July 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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