BRAHMS: Hungarian Dances (complete) – Steven & Stijn Kolacny, piano four hands

by | May 10, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BRAHMS: Hungarian Dances (complete) – Steven & Stijn Kolacny,
piano four hands – Etcetera multichannel SACD KTC 5250, 52:27 ****:

The Kolacnys are a pair of Belgian brothers who began playing four-hand
piano music together at an early age. In their 7th disc they take on
the tunefuland lively Hungarian Dances – on the score of which Brahms
identified himself as the arranger and not the composer. Nevertheless
he had to field many accusations of plagiarism from various obscure
composers. At the start of the 20th century Bartok and Kodaly
discovered in their folk music research (recording on wax cylinder
records) that the tunes which Brahms described as true Hungarian folk
songs were not that at all but commercialized gypsy music from the
cafes of Vienna. Actually this work should be titled “Gypsy Dances.”

The Kolacny brothers play a Steinway Model D and the brilliant high
notes balance well with the bassy and rhythmic bottom part of the
keyboard. One wouldn’t think the surround information would add much to
the portrayal of the four hands at the single keyboard, but it does aid
the spatial presence of the two performers, as well as place them in a
palpable concert hall setting. In this case i didn’t mind that much the
wide-than-real piano reproduction found on most recordings today,
because it made it easier to hear the interplay between Part I and Part
II on the 88 notes.

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