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Fantasia Contrappuntistica for two pianos

Variations and Fugue on a theme of Beethoven Op. 86

Fugue in C minor K.426 and Sonata in D major K.488/375a
Andras Schiff and Peter Serkin (two pianos)
ECM 1676/77 465 062-2 [92.17]
Crotchet £22.00  Amazon UK £21.99 AmazonUS $33.22

This two piano recital commemorates a rare meeting in New York of two great pianists. Not a regular duo partnership, their synchrony is astonishing and they play with a balance of finesse and fire, striking sparks off each other in a cunningly contrived programme which looks back to Bach, the most inventive fugue maker of all time.

The Busoni encompasses mystery, with flights of unique harmonic and pianistic invention; Reger builds a huge edifice upon a deceptively "innocente e cantabile" bagatelle, the last of Beethoven's Op 119. These major works are framed by Mozart; the 1783 fugue, better known in its strings version, and for relaxation and delight to finish, the most vivid and elegant performance of his two piano sonata you could wish for.

I cannot recall for a long time another two piano recording which has given comparable pleasure, and recommend it unreservedly as one not to be missed.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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