MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466. BEETHOVEN: Variations
in E flat. MILHAUD: La Création du Monde. MENDELSSOHN/BUSONI:
Symphony No. 1 in
POULENC: Concerto in D minor for Two Pioanos and Orchestra. Les
Animaux modeles FRANCAIXAZ: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30. Rhapsody
on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43
STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Two Pianos. Le Sacre du porintemps.
NANCARROW: Sonatina. HERRMANN: Hausmann: Hausmusik.
The Warner Classics Martha Argerich set is another in the series of performances from the Lugano Festival, these from the 2014 Festival with the remarkable pianist collaborating with many of her peers, new artists as well. Repertory, as listed above, is wide-ranging. This is a celebration of music on the highest scale, well recorded, containing some works new to Argerich's discography. Another plus is that this is a budget issue.
Capriccio has a winner in this superb CD of music of Françaix and Poulenc played by young duo-pianists Mona and Rica Bard assisted by Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz conducted by Ariane Matiakh. We have the delightful three-movement concerto for two pianos Françaaiscomposed in 1965; charming music that has been unjustly neglected in recording studios: we are fortunate to have it now in a superb performance. This is followed byh is Poulenc's delightful ballet suite for orchestra The Model /animals. The program ends with a sensitive performance of Poulenc's Double Concerto, distinctive in that the orchestral accompaniment misses none of the score's humor. The cover photo is rather odd; the two Rico sisters look like Siamese twins. Audio is wide-range and natural. This is a wonderful disk!
This new recording of two of Rachmaninoff's most popular works is unique. Played by Brazilian/American pianist Luiz de Moura Castroby, who has some following in South America and for 25 years has been on the faculty of Harti School of Music at at Hartford. His interpretations stressit stress the lyrical side of Concerto No. 3 and the Paganini Rhapsody, occasionally to telling effect. However no effort is made to explore virtuoso aspects of both scores.Slow, slower and turgid are the norm resulting in boring performances. None of the excitement generated by all other pianists is heard here. The lighter cadenza is played in the first movement of the concerto, and the filigree passage towards the end is ultra slow, hardly what the composer intended—just listen to his recording, or any other. . The final pages of the Concerto are slow with the closing octaves, which should bring the work to a dazzling close, labored. This Paganini Rhapsody is the longest ever recorded (26:03). Only the famous 18th variation impresses from the leisurely approach. There are countless recordings of both works; all are superior to this. My current favorite Concerto No. 3 is the remarkable recent Yuha Wang/Simon Bolivar Orch/Gustavo Dudamel Decca release (REVIEW). Rhapsody also has numerous superb recordings, including historic performances by Moiseiwitsch and the composer. All are superior to this latest effort.
The piano duo of Norie Takahasni and Björn Lehman began in 2009 when both were students and since that time they have concertized extensively in in Korea, Japan, and Europe. They play brilliantly indeed, opening and closing with two major works of Stravinsky. First, the Concerto for Two Pianos written 1932-19334 and premiered the following year in Paris with Stravinsky and his son Solima at the keyboards. It is an exciting work containing much of the rhythmic elements of Le Sacre du printemps which was premiered in 1913 and changed the world of music. It is heard here in the comp;composer's arrangement for two pianos. Of course the power of the orchestral version cannot be matched by two pianos, but it always is interesting to hear the details possible with two pianos. This performance is excellent indeed, if not quite up to the standard of the recent DVD concert performance by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboium (REVIEW).Thedisk also contains two important brief works for two pianos, Conlon Mamcarrow"s Sonatina (arr. Y. Mikhoshoff) and Hausamusik by Arnulf Herrmann, both welcome additions to the catalog. Audio is superb, with complete CD notes.
R.E.B. (July 2015)