Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Twentieth Century Music for two pianos and orchestra
Two Piano Concerto
(1949-50) [18 mins]
Alexandre TANSMAN
Suite for two piano and orchestra (1928) [22 mins]
Gian Francesco MALIPIERO
Dialoghi VII (1956) [13 mins]
Joshua Pierce (piano)
Dorothy Jonas (piano)
Slovak State PO/David Amos
rec 5-8 Dec 1994 Kosice, Slovakia
CENTAUR CRC2269 [52.01]

Centaur have always had an enterprising catalogue. Collections of this type are not exactly common and it is to Centaur's credit that this exists at all.

The Lopatnikoff is brittle and acidic but not without romantic pith. This is a combination recalling Walton with a Stravinskian twist. Melodic vigour abounds in this slightly tart confection. Lightly spiced note clashes draw in memories of Finzi's Grand Fantasia and Toccata. The music is ruminative in the andante second movement but howls in the finale showering off piano shrapnel like welding torch sparks. This music has certain overlaps with Walton and Shostakovich but lacks Walton's humanity. The Oldham composer's convulsive pulse and nervy accents are certainly evident.

The Tansman has the accent of a Gershwin but this is crossbred with gritty dissonance and neo-classicism. Along the way we encounter a tune of simple nobility tastily served up, a Tom and Jerry scherzo joyously uncorked, a chaotically Graingerian medley and a Bachian fugue.

The Malipiero does not impress: clangorous, thornily dysjunct, aimless and smeared.

These are world premiere recordings set down in up-front style (a touch of mild congestion sometimes) with extensive English only notes by composer, Eric Salzman. The notes are only spoilt by their tendency to describe the music in technical terms.

Rob Barnett

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