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Gershwin's 'Three Preludes for Piano' (1926) [listen -- track 3, 1:39-2:51] was premièred by the composer himself -- he described them as 'a conglomeration of various things; a bit of ragtime and a little blues -- some classicism and spirituals. Above all' he concluded, 'it is a question of rhythm.' This is true of the disc in its entirety and the Pekinel sisters are as alive to individual composers' widely disparate rhythms as any rival duo.

While Warner-Teldec's release (recorded in Switzerland, 1988) is a bit on the mingy side at 52 minutes, Bartók's ground-breaking Sonata is positively 'aerodynamic' in its clarity, audacity and panache [listen -- track 7, 1:01-2:01].

In short here's a worthy alternative to the authority and unity of purpose evident in two Martha Argerich recordings (with Brazilian pianist, Nelson Freire), the Kontarsky brothers (on DGG), or Sviatsolav Richter with Vassily Lobanov (live on Philips).

Argerich and the Pekinel Sisters both employ ace percussionist Peter Sadlo in their recordings and here Sadlo is joined by Stefan Gagelmann. So it's largely a question of the coupling you prefer. If you're happy with both Bartók and Bernstein, this Warner disc is the obvious choice.

Copyright © 24 January 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Bernstein - Gershwin - Bartók

2564 62118-2 DDD Stereo REISSUE 52'01" 1988 Teldec Classics; 2005 Warner Classics

Güher Pekinel, piano; Süher Pekinel, piano; Peter Sadlo, percussion; Stefan Gagelmann, percussion

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990): Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story' (arranged by Paul McKibbins and Robert Philipps under the supervision of Leonard Bernstein; percussion arranged by Peter Sadlo); George Gershwin (1898-1937): Three Preludes (transcribed by Gregory Stone); Béla Bartók (1881-1945): Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion



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