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Cleverly different

Music for two pianos
and orchestra -
enjoyed by RON BIERMAN

'... all the technique these sometimes difficult pieces require ...'

Music for Two Pianos and Orchestra. © 2002 Helicon Records

Although the notes don't provide a recording date, I believe this is a reissue of a 1995 Albany disc. Three cheers for the programming and the performers in any event! The Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra is the only well-known piece and it receives a cleverly different performance, competitive with any. The opening zips along with sparkling, clear articulation in a style more typical for early Prokofiev than for a member of the less ferocious Les Six. Even the lyrical second movement sounds a little less Parisian and more romantically Russian than usual. I've always admired one of its simple, wistfully descending themes [listen -- track 2, 1:04-2:04].

The Berezowsky Fantasy for Two Pianos and Orchestra in one movement is the shortest of the three pieces here and this is its first performance on disk. It's even more obviously related to Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. Berezowsky was born in Russia in 1900, trained in St Petersburg and immigrated to the United States while in his twenties. His once popular symphonies and concertos have disappeared from the repertoire. The Fantasy, though entertaining, perhaps suggests why. It reminds me of some of the pseudo-concertos written for films with plots about struggling classical musicians. The dual pianists work up some excitement, but the piece hasn't the memorable tunes of the Warsaw Concerto and others.

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Copyright © 20 September 2003 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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