The pianists are Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. There is a long precedent of major concerts pianists' joining forces to play music for two pianos when their schedules permitted.
Last century there were Eugen d'Albert and Teresa Carreno, as long as their stormy marriage lasted, which was not very long. Now, Mr. Lupu and Mr. Perahia, and long may their digits wave. As could have been anticipated, their performances are strong, assured and elegant. The Mozart is played with crisp classic contours and a wonderfully bouncing finale. The Schubert is gratifyingly free from mannerism.
Perahia are content to set forth Duo For Pianists II - Christian Wolff - For Two Pianists .And Three (CD notes in logical patterns, and they do not try to make too much of the Romantic elements. Their concentration is on a beautiful, singing line, exactly what the Fantasy needs. Has any composer ever written a sadder, more haunting, unforgettably elegiac melody than the one that opens this F minor Fantasy?
The recorded sound is clear and lifelike except for the fortissimo passages. Then the sound is too close-up and has an unpleasant clang. We have not had much duet or two-piano music on disks played by artists of this caliber. How about putting them to work in Schumann's Andante and Variations, badly in need of a modern recording, or Schumann's ''Pictures from the East'' for piano duet has it ever been recorded?
These wonderful works are best-known in the orchestral version, of which there are many recorded performances. But Dvorak originally wrote them for piano duet, and they are just as effective in the more modest format. One marvelous tune follows another in these two books Opp. Dvorak is such an underestimated composer!
Most of his music is so emotionally uncomplicated, so generous in its melodic outpouring, that the tendency is to take him for granted. Yet he ranks with Schubert in the ingenuity of his modulations, he was second to none as an orchestrator, and he left a body of music that -don't laugh - puts him at the least on a par with Brahms.
Balsam and Ms. Raps have a good time with the dances, playing with style and spirit, though one gets the feeling that this is more a reading session than one in which all facets of the music have been explored. Surely some of the material, such as the G major theme of the G minor in Book II, could have been shaped with more love. Excellent recorded sound here. The sequence of the Op. Raps differs from the standard Schirmer edition. Balsam says that he is using the original Simrock edition.
This is confusing. Ursula is very grateful to Brandon Fradd and the Musical Explorations Societywhose sponsorship made this recording possible. Oppens, who gave the premiere. As a result of this I began to have to learn Chopin and practise scales and the rest of it which I just hated for a very long time.
Yet, until his 86th year, his published catalogue for solo piano comprised just two scores: the Sonata for Piano and Night Fantasies Maybe the composer Carter most resembles in this progress is Brahms, who preoccupied himself with sonata forms early on, piano variations in mid-career Night Fantasies could be construed as a kind of variation sequenceand collections of concentrated miniatures late on.
Indeed, a listener coming to his Piano Sonata and Night Fantasies for the first time might find it difficult to believe they were the work of the same composer, so radical was his evolution between them — or that the hand that wrote the grand pandiatonic apostrophes that launch the Sonata was the same that dashed off the skittish chromatics of Matribute sixty two years later.
Like the great 19th and early 20th century composer-performers, Carter has always regarded the keyboard as a challenge to virtuosity: how much one pair of human hands, moving with maximum agility, strength, and variety of touch, can draw from the percussive and resonant sonorities of the seven-and—a-bit octaves of the modern concert grand plus foot control of its three pedals.
All of his solo piano writing is technically demanding; even the Two Diversions intended for young players are tricky for all but the most proficient amateurs. This love of virtuosity has recurrently expressed itself in contrasts of the most powerfully amassed chordal sonorities with glittering flights of toccata figuration. Against these, the context changes character continually. Towards the centre of the piece, the texture thins to mere sprinkling of staccato notes, as though most of the connecting texture had been rubbed out.
Events then accumulate to a brief climax, breaking off for the emphatic 90th beat. However, in a charming coda, the beats continue at a quickening pace, as though Carter were wishing Petrassi to live on into his s…. Variants of this stride through Retrouvailles surrounded by a volatile conspectus of Carterian piano gestures and textures, so that the piece sounds far more substantial than the mere minute-and-a-half it takes to play.
Doubtless it was with the idea of tempting Carter back to large-scale solo piano composition that the late Paul Jacobs invited three of his most distinguished fellow pianists, Ursula Oppens, Charles Rosen, and Gilbert Kalish, to join him in commissioning the present work, with funds raised by The American Music Center of New York.
In his preface, Carter writes:. Night Fantasies is a piano piece of continually changing moods, suggesting the fleeting thoughts and feelings that pass Duo For Pianists II - Christian Wolff - For Two Pianists .And Three (CD the mind during a period of wakefulness at night. The quiet nocturnal evocation with which it begins and [to which it] returns occasionally, is suddenly broken by a flighty series of short phrases that emerge and disappear. This episode is followed by many others of contrasting characters and lengths that sometimes break in abruptly and, at other times, develop smoothly out of what has gone before.
The work culminates in a loud, obsessive repetition of an emphatic chord that, as it dies, brings the work to its conclusion. Although certain textures recur, there are no themes in the traditional sense; Carter is concerned rather with the experience of changefulness itself.
Neither of these procedures is easily apprehensible by the listener, nor are they intended to be. Rather, the referential chords helped the composer to monitor the consistency of his harmony, just as the pulses helped him to define the rhythmic independence of the two hands. One of ten composers invited to contribute to the Carnegie Hall Millennium Piano Book, he here reverts somewhat to the more clear-cut constructivist techniques of the late s when he was building on the breakthrough discoveries of the Piano Sonata, and adapting to his own purposes certain cross-rhythmic ideas of his colleague and friend, Conlon Nancarrow.
Matribute, however — requested by James Levine as a birthday offering to his mother Helen Levine — is exactly what it says: a tribute to Ma. Technically, Carter could have called it Diversion 3, since it comprises a comparable study in contrary rates of unfolding. It begins with fragmentary fast figuration in the right hand against a deep sustained line in the left.
On its periodic resumptions, the slow line tends to quicken and rise in pitch until it fuses with the fast figuration in a coruscating upward flurry, terminated by a single staccato C natural. Maestro Levine played the first performance himself in Lucerne on August 27, On the face of it, the minute two-movement structure Carter completed inwith the support of a Guggenheim Award, was milder in idiom than either the austere, hard-bitten Copland or the chromatically rampaging Barber, Duo For Pianists II - Christian Wolff - For Two Pianists .And Three (CD, let alone the transcendentally dissonant Ives.
Yet in its underlying concept and the clear-headedness with which it was realized, it was arguably the most radical of all.
For while the opening movement can be heard more or less as a traditional sonata form and the second comprises a fast fugue flanked by a more stately introduction and epilogue, they are not really generated by the thematic material that appears in them; the themes serve rather as section-markers on the surface of a musical flow built out of more fundamental harmonic and rhythmic elements.
Soon the fingers take up these harmonies, breaking them into irregular groupings of a regular fast pulse to create Album) flights of figuration — a kind of modern Duo For Pianists II - Christian Wolff - For Two Pianists .And Three (CD sound. Although technically in a new key, the sarabande-like opening of the second movement sounds more like a variant of the beginning of the first than a fresh departure.
After an ensuing, more rocking episode, Carter resorts, as in certain transitional junctures in the first movement, to harmonics — sounds evoked by pressing piano keys silently and activating their humming resonances by staccato lower notes.
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