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Cat No: WER68092
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 8th December 2014
WorksEn blanc et noir (piano duet)
The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps) (piano duet)
Monologe (piano duet)
ArtistsSusanne Huber (piano)
Andre Thomet (piano)
The piano works for two pianos or piano four-hands brought together here have quite a few inner connections. Each, in its own way, breaks down aesthetic conventions and involves vast historical and geographic horizons while demanding the highest level of virtuosity from the performers.
'En blanc et noir' [In Black and White] was created in the early days of the First World War. Claude Debussy made no secret of his disgust with the catastrophe of the war and the Germans who were responsible for it. He saw the German invasion as an attempt to destroy French culture. So the title of the composition not only refers to the black and white keys of the piano keyboard, but primarily symbolises the two opposing sides in the First World War: white representing the French victims and black the German aggressors.
Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s 'Monologe' demands incredible technical skill from the performers. The independence of the two pianos presents a particular challenge, but so does the necessity of maintaining a sense of balance between the instruments. The composition is pervaded by a number of historical quotations. These quotations, ranging from the Gregorian chant 'Veni Creator Spiritus' [Come, creative spirit] via Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy to Messiaen, transport the evolution of European music into a new, specially created sound continuum.
'Le Sacre du printemps' [The Rite of Spring] expresses, in constantly shifting rhythms, the elemental experience of the Russian Spring and “the close connection of the people to the earth”. Igor Stravinsky composed the work at the piano, as the initial sketches clearly reveal. The spacing of the chords and the tonal range are characteristic of the piano, so that it is only partially correct to speak of the version for piano duet as a 'reduction', in fact, it reveals the original conception of the piece.
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