MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
The Rite of Spring (1913) [34.12]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Sonata for piano (four hands) (1938) [16.18]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Rapsodie espagnole (1907) [15.15]
Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, piano (four hands)
rec. Studio Odradek, August 2011
ODRADEK 855317003011 [65.45]

The booklet quotes Pierre Monteux, the conductor of the first performance of The Rite of Spring, as stating “that to hear the work without its orchestral colour is to lose one of its main attractions.” In fact, if I recall correctly, Monteux was describing - in his sleeve notes for his LP recording of the work for RCA - how Stravinsky had originally played the work at the piano for Diaghilev and himself, and that as the demonstration had continued he had become more and more convinced that Stravinsky was mad. If the great conductor felt that way about The Rite of Spring shorn of its instrumental colour, surely that must mean that for modern listeners any attempt to experience the work in the same way is doomed to failure.
Well, not entirely. We now know, as Monteux did not at that time, how The Rite sounds with a full orchestra playing it; and we can supply from our own memories of the score the colour that a piano reduction fails to supply. In addition, there are advantages to hearing the work in this way. The percussive piano provides a rhythmic drive that the full orchestra blunts. We can hear details of the counterpoint which can be smothered under the layers of instrumental colour. For this reason it is valuable - on occasion - to hear Stravinsky’s ballet unadorned. The two players here do a good job, giving us detail and force by turns.
In the same way it is easy to assume that the Rapsodie espagnole - correctly so spelled in the booklet notes, but mis-spelt as Rhapsodie in the track-listings - must inevitably suffer without Ravel’s masterly application of orchestral colour. In fact the piano version is the original of the score, composed the year before his own orchestration. Ravel composed a great many of his works in this way, and although we are generally more familiar with La Valse, Le tombeau de Couperin, Ma Mère l’Oie and the Pavane pour une infante défunte in their orchestral form, all were originally written for and performed on the piano. Ravel in fact regarded the two versions as complementary. Again, with the instrumental coloration in mind, we can appreciate his scores played on the piano as having validity in their own right, supplying from our memories the orchestral clothing as appropriate.
The Hindemith Sonata on the other hand exists only in the version for piano (four hands), and is a real rarity in the catalogues even in this form. I can find only one other recording currently available. It’s part of a Nimbus set of all Hindemith’s piano music played by Bernard Roberts and David Strong. The duo here are rather more leisurely than Roberts and Strong in the slow introduction to the final movement. Otherwise there is little reason to prefer one version over the other.
The recorded sound is present and lively, with a pleasant sense of resonance. If the coupling of these three works is attractive, there is no reason to hesitate. There is the additional attraction of Odradek’s royalties policy, which means that once pressing and distribution costs have been covered all profits go the artists themselves.
Paul Corfield Godfrey   

Masterwork Index: Rite of spring