Nettle & Markham in France – 28 Contrasting Pieces for Two Pianos [TrackList follows] – Netmark NEMACD300, 75:23 [Distr. by Allegro] *****:
Bougainvilleas of the Soul – Two-piano Music by ELENA MARTIN [TrackList follows] – Elena Martin and José Melitón, pianists – Centaur CRC 3228, 53:49 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
David Nettle & Richard Markham are among the top British piano duos today. They have done previous albums of collection “…in America,” and “…in England,” so this one is a very natural progression. They play all over the world, traveling with their two Steinway pianos. For the many pieces not already in a two-piano form, they do their own masterful arrangements or transcriptions.
The program opens with a terrific version of my personal favorite French music for two pianos, Milhaud’s Scaramouche. There are four little Bizet excerpts made into a suite, two of the animals from Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals, and the recital closes with their arrangements of four of the gorgeous Songs of the Auvergne by Canteloube.
TrackList: MILHAUD: Scaramouche; FAURE: Berceuse from Dolly; SATIE: Gymnopédie No. 1; Chaminade: Le Matin; IBERT: Le petit ane blanc; BIZET: 4 pieces; POULENC: Elegie; L’Embarquement; DEBUSSY: Prelude; Cortege et Air de danse; HAHN: Pour bercer un convalescent No. 2; RAVEL: Sel. from Mother Goose Suite; INGHELBRECHT: Sur le pont d’Avignon; SAINT-SAENS: Fossiles; Le Cygne; BARCELLINI: Theme from Mon Oncle; FRANCAIX: Baiao; SATIE: Grand Ritournelle; Cancan “Grande-Mondain”; CANTELOUBE: 4 Songs from Songs of the Auvergne.
As with many duo-pianists, Martin and Meliton are a couple. They have recorded two earlier CDs of Spanish works for two pianos by Soler, Albeniz, Granados, Rodrigo and others, so communication of elements of the Spanish soul is nothing new to them. But for this one the emphasis is on the original compositions of half of the duo, Elena Martin. It is quite obvious she knows and is deeply into the Iberian language. The eleven rather short selections deal with many Iberian concerns and elements: evening in Andalusia, the play of light and shadow, the sea, with inserts having a Argentine location. Martin’s notes explain how she sees the connection between the colorful bougainvillea plant and the Mediterranean Sea, and how it represents the variety of colors expressed in these musical works. The excellent recording was made in a recital hall in Winston-Salem, NC.
La Segunda Inocencia (The Second Innocence); Vals (Waltz); Mi Tarde Flamenquita (My Andalusian Evening); Variaciones Sobre Un Tema Romantico (Variations on a Romantic Theme); Pasodoble Argentino (Argentinian Pasodoble); El Labertino (The Labyrinth); Romance Entre Luz y Tinieblas (Romance between Light and Shadow); Summer Swing; La Mar Nuestra (Our Sea); La Mar Nuestra (Our Sea); El Enigma Bonarense (The Enigma from Buenos Aires)