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Duos for piano and organ
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Die Fledermaus; overture (1874) (arr. Jonathan Scott) [8:31]
Félix-Alexandre GUILMANT (1837-1911)
Pastorale Op.26 (1870) [4:03]
Flor PEETERS (1903-1986)
Concerto for organ and piano Op.74 (1953) [17:06]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Carnival of the Animals (1886) (arr. Jonathan Scott) – The Swan [2:46] and Finale [1:48]
Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971)
Variations on Two Themes Op.35 (1937) [11:56]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
Mélodie from Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) (arr. Jonathan Scott) [3:26]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 (1847) (arr. Jonathan Scott) [10:15]
Tom Scott (piano), Jonathan Scott (organ)
rec. Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 26 July 2007
Experience Classicsonline

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw the programme for this recital of duos for piano and organ. Certainly the Dupré and Peeters looked enticing but there seemed to be some programmatic flim flam along the way – The Swan and the Gluck Melodie? Happily my fears were soon dispelled because this is a terrific disc from two young brothers, recorded in the resplendent acoustic of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
The Fledermaus Overture is arranged by Jonathan Scott and gets the recital off to a suitably galvanizing start. Fortunately the vital matter of just balance between the two instruments has been well managed and if there’s a whiff of the Municipal Gardens, Bournemouth, circa 1928 about it all, well that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book. The Guilmant soon heads things into a more decisive direction. The Pastoral dates from 1870 and was originally written for harmonium and piano, later being transcribed for the present forces and here further arranged for the organ pedals and piano by Jonathan Scott. This might seem a convoluted genesis for so essentially warmly lyric a work but when the results are as beautiful as this why complain?
Flor Peeters’s Concerto is full of neo-classical vitality and sparkling colour in its outer movements, played with freshness and ardour by the young Scott brothers. The central Arioso is a melodic paradise and equally verdant in its pleasures. Marcel Dupré wrote his Variations on Two Themes in 1935. He was certainly precocious in many ways but surely the notes mean that he studied with Guilmant in 1898 not 1888, when the mite would have been two years old. The Variations are brilliantly intricate and arrayed, complex and textually rich – a deeply rewarding piece of music, played with equal intelligence and control.
As for the ubiquitous Swan it’s actually not so bad; the Gluck Melodie is rather better. Jonathan Scott notes that his own arrangement was inspired by such other versions as those by Rachmaninoff and Heifetz, taking a “non historical” approach. The recital ends with Liszt’s pile driving Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 in another Jonathan Scot arrangement. Once again this has a rather inter-war feel to it, a bit sepulchral and Bela Lugosi-like, but it’s certainly interesting to hear these young musicians’ versatile take on it.
I commented briefly earlier on the excellent recorded quality. There’s a colourful booklet in the open-out card housing the disc. The disc is released on the brothers’ own label – they’ve made a fine start with this engaging and balanced recital.
Jonathan Woolf  


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