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Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Works for Piano Duo

Dance of the Adolescent (1924)
Music for the Theater (1925)
El Salón México (1937) arr. Bernstein
Billy the Kid (1938)
Two Dance Episodes from Rodeo (1942) (Arr. Gold and Fizdale): (i) Saturday Night Waltz (ii) Hoe Down
Danzón Cubano (1942)
Danza de Jalisco (1968)
Arianna Goldina and Rémy Loumbrozo (pianos)
Rec. June 2000 and April 2001, location not stated DDD

A fair amount of Coplandís orchestral music exists in piano versions. These were mostly made by the composer, sometimes as a stage in the composition process. Apparently he always composed at the keyboard and he gave public performances of some of these works as piano duos either with John Kirkpatrick or Leonard Bernstein. The latter arranged El Salón México for two pianos two years after its first performance was given in Mexico City. To my ears, this is a most successful arrangement and it receives a lively and committed performance from Goldina and Loumbrozo.

The programme is given in chronological order of composition. Dance of the Adolescent and Music for the Theater are early works. This performance of the latter is a world première recording of the composerís version for one piano, four hands. Music from the ballet Billy the Kid is played on two instruments and is represented by six movements that Copland extracted from the complete work and published separately. Interestingly, the first performance of this work was given by Ballet Caravan in 1938 using a two-piano accompaniment. Unfortunately, only two of the four dance episodes from Rodeo were arranged by Gold and Fizdale for two pianos but at least they included the Hoe Down. This fizzes along and sounds fresh as new here. The highly syncopated Cuban Dance is equally delightful in this format. Finally, in Danza de Jalisco occasional hand-clapping is used to add some extra "oomph".

Arianna Goldina and Rémy Loumbrozo are clearly in their element in this repertoire and miss no opportunity to have fun. They are well-recorded and the stereo image effectively separates the two instruments (which are used in all these works except Music for the Theater) to an appropriate degree. The documentation is generally good and includes notes on each piece written by Arianna Goldina. The date associated with Danza de Jalisco on the rear inset (9159) is an obvious error which is not even an anagram of the correct date.

Coplandís two cowboy ballets and El Salón México are amongst his most important orchestral works. They are also worth hearing in two piano versions and this disc provides a welcome opportunity to do just that.

Patrick C Waller

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