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CD Review

The Golden Age of Piano Duet

Isabel Beyer & Harvey Dagul, pianos
Pianos: Bosendorfer
Recorded: 1999, Hertfordshire, England
Four Hands Music FHMD9920 74m DDD
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Most piano CD's tend to come and go. But this eclectic four-hand offering is exquisitely produced and most of the music is almost unknown, thus adding an extra dimension to its purchasing allure. Having met Isabelle Beyer and Harvey Dagul recently, I am only too happy to take the opportunity to review their outstanding release and confess to have been utterly charmed by their exquisite playing. The Beethoven marches are relatively early Prometheus contemporary creations and they are certainly imbued with the sense of the exotic and legendary.

I warmed to the duo's finely poised interpretation of the third, which is the most substantial composition. However, the longest work on disc is (by far), Weber's Eight Pieces. These delightful creations are winningly done here and the whole work should be revived more often but what is definite is that it will not receive a better-recorded version than it does here. Dagul and Beyer are inspired with their devilish fingerwork and the passion of Weber's romanticism comes across in a forceful and bold manner.

Two short pieces by Schubert and Hummel are also exquisitely played and prove to be ideal interludes to Czerny's rhetorical "La Rivalite". This is also an inspired composition although the technical demands made on the players tend to outshine the dramatic warmth. The players, who also write the notes, state that this is the first in a series of projected releases in similar repertoire. I just can't wait to hear the sequels! Recording and presentation are suitably impressive.

Copyright © 1999, Gerald Fenech