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  • HOMMAGE À WEBER
    If one listens to Weber s Second Piano Concerto on the present recording for example especially the slow movement with its expansive melody virtuosic arpeggios and ornamentations it becomes clear what was already there for Chopin to build upon later in his own work and one cannot but be amazed by visionary Romantic drama in Weber s music written in the Classical environment of 1812 That was when Beethoven was writing his Seventh Symphony and Schubert s voice was breaking This love of experimentation incidentally was met with incomprehension at the time They say Bach did this Handel didn t write that Mozart took that liberty But if one has the good fortune to think of something they have not already done it would be better to cross it out at once for there is nothing one can use to show that such a thing is allowed What a lack of solid foundations and standards is inherent in music Emotion and more emotion but who can say my way is the right way 4 Another thing that makes Weber s style hard to classify is that the Romantic idiom had first of all to take root in him This is most evident in the appearance of the score to which we and other performers today must once more find a way of connecting another possible reason for the obscurity of his four hands output Thus Weber especially in the early Op 3 and Op 10 cycles locks his freely flowering ideas in an ascetic notation that gives few hints as to the dynamic shaping and elastic playing flow this music needs If one follows this strict outward appearance which almost resembles early Classical works one easily arrives at mistaken ideas of fixed tempo stable periods and orderly structures One has to pluck up the courage and treat the score much more freely than it seems to permit Only then can Weber s music come alive giving the performer a secure sense of interpretive approach and allowing them finally to feel this sensual poetic simply Romantic beauty that contains both the old and the new at once I remember past times I dream for the future 5 The Individual Works 1 Original Compositions Even the little easy pieces of Opus 3 already reveal the enormous talent of the then 15 year old Weber though the music is still following the secure framework of Classicism it is original and highly professional in its craftsmanship They already show the elegant finesse that would become his trademark while the allemandes written at the same time are not ashamed to embrace the down to earth character of the German dance In Opus 10 written in 1809 Weber has now fully mastered the sonic and pianistic resources of the piano four hands His inventiveness is remarkable whether in the melodies the variety of the individual pieces or in the wealth of colours he uses to add depth especially to quiet moments such as the mysterious mood

    Original URL path: http://www.duo-daccord.de/audio/weber/weber_en_booklet.html (2016-04-25)
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  • FRANZ SCHUBERT: SCHÖNERE WELTEN
    which Schubert attended This monumental work with which Beethoven once more demonstrated the inexhaustible potential of this very familiar classical sonata form must inevitably have influenced Schubert s work on his C Major Sonata This was perhaps also sensed by Robert Schumann who years after Schubert s death discovered the score and immediately declared the sonata a piano arrangement of a symphony which had not yet been orchestrated stating Prolific composers like Schubert do not put much thought into titles and so he hurriedly called his work a sonata when it actually already existed in his head as a symphony It is very interesting to contemplate why Schumann an ardent admirer of Schubert could possibly entertain such serious misjudgement This is probably due to the high level of performance required here the demands of Schubert s work are much greater than players of four handed pieces were used to If we compare the C Major Sonata with its predecessors this exceptional status becomes clear the feasibility of reproducing the sound of this music on a piano has become apart from the exuberant pianistic final completely irrelevant in view of its epic greatness If this grand duo is to be taken seriously as a visionary work for piano more than just time and practice is necessary to master Schubert s spiritual and technical requirements Both pianists must be gifted with extreme technical control tonal sensitivity power of imagination and a restrained ego to guarantee perfect consensus And due to these demands which the duo pianists of that time could hardly been expected to meet even Robert Schumann was blind to the true nature of the piece The Rondo in A Major D 951 is in quite a different category and it is significant that Schubert was commissioned to compose this work

    Original URL path: http://www.duo-daccord.de/audio/schubert/schubert_en_booklet.html (2016-04-25)
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  • MESSIAEN / BEETHOVEN
    and wild dance of the planets The stars sun and Saturn spin in unrestrained frenzy God calls and they answer Amen here we are All of the different movements reflect the life of the planets and the wonderful rainbow that enables Saturn s rings to shine III Amen of Jesus agony Jesus suffers and cries My father if it be possible let this cup pass away from me nevertheless not my will but thy will be done He accepts his fate so be it Amen Three musical ideas first the curse of the Father concerning the sins of the world second a scream third a heartrending cry Christ s suffering brings man forgiveness and renewal Unspeakable suffering of which blood and sweat give only a faint intimation IV Amen of yearning The word yearning must be understood here in its highest spiritual meaning There are two themes that refer to longing The first is slow and characterized by deep tenderness the peaceful fragrance of paradise The second is much more tumultuous the soul is filled with a terrible love that increases until it breaks into ecstasy The two main voices seem to melt together in the coda and nothing remains but the harmonious stillness of heaven V Amen of the angels the saints the song of birds Song of the immaculacy of the saints Amen The jubilant vocalises of the birds Amen The angels fell before the throne Amen At first the songs of the angels and saints completely concentrated on the essence and very pure Then a middle section based on the songs of the birds in which a brilliant piano passage can unfold Then a changed recapitulation of the song of the angels and saints with a nonreversible rhythmic canon at three levels VI Amen of Judgment Day Three icy tones like the bells of clarity Truly I say unto you Amen Depart from me ye cursed A deliberately short and brusque piece VII Amen of fulfillment The life of the transfigured bodies in a glockenspiel of light from clarity to clarity Amen The entire rainbow of the gems of the apocalypse that ring collide dance and submerge the light of life in their fragrance Shortened version of Olivier Messiaen s foreword to the score with kind permission of Editions Durand Paris Ludwig van Beethoven Grosse Fuge op 134 for Piano Four Hands Much has been written on the Grosse Fuge and its singular status in the history of music As Beethoven s certainly most difficult to grasp work under the motto tantôt libre tantôt recherchée as freely as artistically it has been the object of transcendental observations such as that of Schoenberg pupil Erwin Ratz In it the opposition in which the ego first stands to the world is overcome the ego now experiences the prevailing of those spiritual godly powers that are in effect in the entire visible and invisible world As an old man Igor Stravinsky even called it the most perfect musical wonder The

    Original URL path: http://www.duo-daccord.de/audio/messiaen/messiaen_en_booklet.html (2016-04-25)
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  • ROBERT SCHUMANN: MUSIC FOR PIANO DUO
    ever of this piece makes clear should definitely find its way into the concert repertoire not as a rarity but as a mainstay Johannes Brahms himself also arranged the composition for piano four hands 1854 a work that Clara Schumann particularly loved and performed herself on a number of occasions e g during her 1844 tour of Russia According to Schumann researcher Joachim Draheim it is highly likely that her arrangement written in 1857 and published in 1858 by Breitkopf Härtel in Leipzig was an easier version of the eminently difficult four hands setting by Brahms which is now lost Every pore of the version for piano four hands is infused with the spirit of Schumann s original that unmistakable mix of forwards motion and dreamy reverie associated with Florestan and Eusebius the imaginary characters who pervade Schumann s early piano works such as Carnaval op 9 or Davidsbündlertänze op 6 and who are practically a synonym for Schumann s romantic split personality Such an interpretation however is somewhat one sided because when Schumann began composing the period of literary Romanticism was nearing its end the excitement of the early Romantics of the Schlegel and Novalis school was giving way to deep resignation or retreat into inner worlds Possibly a better understanding of Schumann can be found by looking at the spirit of the restoration between the Vienna Congress 1815 and the begin of the 1848 Revolution an age which connected the feeling of simple imitation with a longing for a new poetic time Schumann It is an epoch that reveals the contradiction between the forces of motion and the forces of a steady state Dieter Langewiesche not only in Schumann s sketches essays and other literary works We also see here the tug of war between simultaneous opposites that characterizes wide stretches of Schumann s oeuvre and that can be heard in the works on this CD a kaleidoscope of moods in which contrary feelings and expressions such as happiness and pain seriousness and irony hope and disappointment excited anticipation and resignation intimacy and the monumental are often not presented one after another but in uncompromising simultaneity Unquestionably Schumann s Andante and Variations and Pictures from the East are the climax of his works for two pianos and four hands respectively The Andante and Variations was originally written for two pianos two cellos and horn but rearranged by Schumann himself for two pianos For many decades of the 19th century it was the only really famous work for two pianos and was performed by Clara Schumann together with celebrities like Johannes Brahms Anton Rubinstein and Ignaz Moscheles on numerous occasions It falls rather in the sphere of lyric relaxation in a major key elegant and amazingly effective in its diplomatic virtuosity Schumann especially shows his worldly side here The Pictures from the East cast overwhelmingly in minor contrast greatly with the Andante and Variations Six impromptus inspired by Friedrich Rückert s free adaptations of the Arabian Maqams of Hariri

    Original URL path: http://www.duo-daccord.de/audio/schumann/schumann_en_booklet.html (2016-04-25)
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  • MAX REGER: WORKS FOR PIANO DUO
    to be expressive music Especially in the Sechs Stücken there are passages which go very deep into the psyche and these complicated feelings are sometimes resolved very suddenly and unexpectedly One feels that Reger had discovered something very important in his search for meaning in music But every person must feel this something for him or herself and likewise try to define it individually Maybe that is ultimately the essence of all Romantic music And the interpreter s job is to reveal the searching and finding in all its complexity H Reger was insistent in distancing himself from the currents of his time There s the famous anecdote in which Strauss says to Reger Another step and you re on our side whereupon Reger answers A step I will not take And that s what I think is the difference Reger maps the inner not the outer Do you see a connection between the three works Reger composed between 1901 and 1906 E I don t see a connection There are basic traits however which always come up in Reger s compositions because above all he was composing for himself as well as to meet his own absolute standards He didn t really care if people liked his pieces H And all three of these works show Reger s different masks In the Burleske it s primarily the funny and sometimes biting mask the Sechs Stücke are very serious almost religious and weighty in a positive sense Reger s romantic side comes to the fore in the Beethoven Variationen especially in the slow variations I think that seen together these three cycles give a very good picture of Reger s essence How does Reger express the bizarre in his very lively Burleskes H For us the Burleskes in addition to Schubert s A Major Rondo were our first four hands project our trial by fire you might say because pianistically they are a real milestone The really hard thing with these pieces is not losing their exaggerated humor when playing them if you do they sound extremely aggressive and hard Each of the Burleskes has several elements which almost always interrupt each other These elements themselves are often incomplete or disconnected as well which is what contributes to the bizarre effect After one of our concerts a reviewer wrote about the Freudian humor in these pieces which hits the nail on the head And you have to get the right dosage of all the elements to unite all of these contrasts E There is also a development within the Burleskes and each shows another side of Reger s humor The first three are very stubborn and play around with musical means for example the third is a very strange waltz The fourth goes to extremes It tips over into the grotesque and ends up quite disturbed Then comes the breathless fifth Burleske where the music finally calms down at the end In the last Burleske Reger plays with the theme

    Original URL path: http://www.duo-daccord.de/audio/reger/reger_en_booklet.html (2016-04-25)
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