Concertos for Two Pianos
Quattro Mani, duo pianos
The brilliant duo piano team, Quattro Mani, is heard in three twentieth century concertos. Francis Poulenc's Concerto in D minor is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of this genre- a witty, sparkling concerto that includes a Mozartean second movement, an imitation of Balinese Gamelan in its first movement, and a high spirited rondo finale that brings the work to a boisterous conclusion. Darius Milhaud's rarely performed Second Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion in three movements is a tip of the hat to Béla Bartók's masterful Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, a work Milhaud admired, referring to it in his autobiography (1953). Throughout this composition, Milhaud's subtle polytonal harmonic language combines with his colorful use of four percussionists who provide commentary and support of the two protagonists. The focal point of the composition is it's wonderfully intimate slow movement, the longest movement of the piece. In 1943, Bartók was asked to score his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion as a concerto with orchestra. For the Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra Bartók added pairs of woodwinds, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, celesta and strings. The orchestration adds color and intensity to a piece already brimming with invention. All of the famous Bartók trademarks are here: "night music", fugal sections, original instrumental effects, and joyous dance music. Conductor Scott Yoo leads Colorado College's festival orchestra, a superb group, selected from among the world's leading young musicians.
“One can’t deny this is high-voltage stuff. Add the less well known Poulenc and Milhaud piano duos and you have an entertaining disc that should appeal to all lovers of the genre.” - MusicWeb International
“This enticing collection contains very fine performances by the piano duo Quattro Mani. Best of all is the Milhaud Concerto No. 2 for Two Pianos and Percussion, a typically spiky and rhythmically charged essay in the composer’s patented brand of polytonality, full of inventive sonorities. A rarity both on disc and in concert, it will make a welcome change from the usual Bartók sonata.” - ClassicsToday.com
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