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Stabat Mater; Kerger Ausklange;




Was ist ... (Goethe)?
Marinova/Kraus and Uriarte/Mrongovius piano duos
 Editions LGNM Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol.9

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 nature.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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