Stabat Mater; Kerger Ausklange;
Was ist ... (Goethe)?
Uriarte/Mrongovius piano duos
Editions LGNM Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise
Attention is grabbed immediately by the unique first work on this interesting
anthology. Marco Kraus is presumably a young composer/pianist (the
information supplied is patchy) and this is a studio recording (made when?)
of his 26 minute set of 21 continuous studies, composed in 1982 and based
upon a duet from Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. It is a significant addition
to a limited repertoire of serious music for eight-hands at two pianos, and
could be a very useful piece for piano students at our colleges. The idiom
is advanced and Kraus is careful not to overwhelm the listener with the
clattering which forty fingers can unleash; many of the variations are quiet
and delicately scored. There is a feeling of lamentation, which accords with
the source and title. The playing is excellent, with impressive precision
of chording, and the studio recording, in a dry acoustic, suits it well.
The remaining items are all played by Iglika Marinova with Marco Kraus.
Alexander Mullenbach (b 1949) is a significant composer of the middle
generation, with an impressive CV. He was featured in a festival of Luxembourg
music in Clerkenwell which I reviewed. The piece which represents him here
is Karma, a rigorous study in 7 parts, 'ritual music - static &
ecstatic - granitic liturgy', based upon a 'non-octaviating modus' which
is reproduced in the booklet. The synchrony in the live concert recording
is less exact than for Kraus's studies; slow, detached chords always present
a challenge for two pianists at separate instruments. The work ends with
'an extreme outburst of rage, unchaining unto total exhaustion'.
Born in 1919 & revered as the path-finder of the second generation of
composers in Luxembourg, Rene Hemmer's Scenes, in a
post-Hindemithian idiom, are for duet at one piano. Also for piano duet are
the the virtuosic, rather cross Ausklange by Camille
Kerger (b 1957), trombonist and singer, a composition pupil of Mullenbach,.
and the wildest avant-garde item Was ist ... (Goethe)?, which
happens to be by one of the older composers, Victor Fenigstein
(b.1924), with vocal contributions and plenty of activity under the piano
lid. Clearly young in heart, and believing that all the styles and techniques
of the past and present are 'a legacy to be used as a witness of his time',
these 'games for grand piano four hands', composed for Iglika Marinova
& Marco Kraus, put the performers through all the hoops with great good
Peter Grahame Woolf
Further information about the Editions LGNM from