Stravinsky / Rachmaninov / Tchaikovsky: Russian works for piano four hands

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Sergei Rachmaninov, last of the great Romantic composers, and Igor Stravinsky, whose early scores for Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes revolutionised the musical world, had a shared fascination for the traditional music of their homeland. Rachmaninov’s early masterpiece, the Six morceaux Op. 11, already exhibits the sweep and grandeur of his maturity, while Stravinsky’s four-hands arrangement of Petrushka reveals this glittering ballet anew in a tour de force of pianistic virtuosity. Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly exquisite transcriptions of Russian folksongs, meanwhile, include two melodies later used by Stravinsky in The Firebird and Petrushka.

Peter Hill, whose Bach series for Delphian continues to attract superlatives, is here joined for the first time on the label by his long-term duo partner Benjamin Frith. Together they explore every facet of the art of the piano duet in performances of truly exceptional power, delicacy and authority.

"Frith and Hill balance the virtuosity with explosive melodies…both have the necessary dexterity to chase notes and fingers – the overlapping twists and turns of ‘Slava’ demand a balletic performance…The twosome perform with variety, sensitivity – and just enough theatrics."


"This is an altogether impressive, accomplished and rewarding release, a delight to listen to from both the sound and performance points of view…Hill and Frith have been playing as a duo since 1986. Such complete lending of tone, touch, dynamics and phrasing quite conceals any division of labour: a clear case of two right hands knowing exactly what the two left ones are doing"

"Hill and Frith brings to this programme a great range of colours and expression and a strong partnership. They can be meltingly romantic in Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky when called for, also angular and ironic and witty. But they excel in the Stravinsky: their clarity and precision displays the score with an analytic grasp of detail and their rhythmic zest makes for a most exciting performance"

"This succession of three items has both musical and academic interest."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Release date: 22 September 2017
Catalogue No: DCD34191
Total playing time: 1:08:27

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