STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Two Pianos (1935); JOHN ADAMS: Hallelujah Junction (1998) for 2 Pianos; PIERRE BOULEZ: Structures; Deuxieme Livre (1961) – Piano Duo Gerard Bouwhuis & Cees van Zeeland – (Turtle Records SACD)

by | Jun 4, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Two Pianos (1935); JOHN ADAMS:
Hallelujah Junction (1998) for 2 Pianos; PIERRE BOULEZ: Structures;
Deuxieme Livre (1961) – Piano Duo Gerard Bouwhuis & Cees van
Zeeland – Turtle Records multichannel SACD TRSA 0021 ****:

The concept behind this spectacular two-piano recital is a sort of
survey of new music in the last century.  Stravinsky’s angularly
rhythmic concerto represents both Neoclassicism and venturing into
atonality.  John Adams’ two-piano work comes from a richer and
less static style than his early minimalist works.  In fact his
very eclectic approach can include rock, jazz, and other sorts of
vernacular musics. The piece’s title is the name of a truck stop on the
border between California and Nevada and the composer describes it as
“The ghost of Conlon Nancarrow goes head-to-head with a Nevada cathouse
pianola.”  Boulez spiky and completely serialized two pieces come
from a period during which he was influenced by the chance techniques
of John Cage. As if pure Boulez wasn’t difficult enough for most
ordinary ears…

The multichannel soundstage presents the two pianos extremely
realistically and separated more than do many two-piano recordings. The
byplay of passages bouncing from one piano to the other in both the
Stravinsky and Adams works is most exciting listening. Next listening I
think I’ll just press the Open button after Track 20 of the Adams work
and wrap up this recital a bit early thank you.

– John Sunier
 

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