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Brahms, Faure, Tchaikovsky / Anna & Ines Walachowski

Brahms / Faure / Walachowski,Anna & Ines
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 746  
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsGabriel FauréPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyStanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Anna WalachowskiInes Walachowski
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRAHMS Hungarian Dances: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 10, 21. FAURÉ Dolly Suite. TCHAIKOVSKY Suite from Sleeping Beauty. MONIUSZKO 6 Contradances Anna and Ines Walachowski (pn) OEHMS 746 (65:48)


Pekinel sisters, move over; there are new gals in town. The Read more Polish-born Walachowskis began their musical training early, Anna at six and Ines at four. Studies at the Breslau Academy, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Hannover University of Music and Drama followed. The duo made its official debut in 1996, and has since won prizes in international contests in Germany, Italy, and Poland. Its repertoire ranges from Mozart, Grieg, and Rachmaninoff to Gershwin and Grainger. With the current release, the team adds Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Fauré, and Moniuszko to its growing discography.


Brahms’s 21 Hungarian Dances turned out to be a money-making machine for the composer and his publisher, Simrock, both of whom capitalized on their cash cow with subsequent editions for solo piano and then orchestra. Originally, however, Brahms scored the dances for piano four hands, as they are heard here.


Fauré’s Dolly Suite, also originally written for piano four hands, has a bit of an indelicate history to it. At the time (1894–97), the composer was having an affair with singer Emma Bardac, whose daughter, Hélène, was nicknamed Dolly. The famous Berceuse that opens the suite was a gift for the child’s first birthday. The remaining movements were added later. The suite is the only work Fauré wrote for piano duo, and the only work he wrote with nonmusical movement titles—e.g., Le Jardin de Dolly and Kitty-valse —that correspond to the pièce charactéristique genre. For those with further interest in Bardac’s romantic dalliances, there is a biographical movie about her available on DVD, titled The Loves of Emma Bardac . Apparently, there were quite a few. After she was done with Fauré, who was far from her first fling, she took up with Debussy, eventually making an honest man of him and a respectable woman of herself by marrying him in 1908.


Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty was the second of the composer’s three ballets. Tchaikovsky himself derived a five-movement orchestral suite from the ballet shortly after its first performance. The pianist Alexander Siloti then recommended his 17-year-old cousin Sergei Rachmaninoff to Tchaikovsky’s publisher, Peter Jürgenson, for the job of arranging Tchaikovsky’s orchestral suite for piano four hands. It was to be Rachmaninoff’s first commission, and one that turned sour. Seeing the score, Tchaikovsky had some choice things to say, calling it, among other things, “pedestrian.” Siloti stepped in to save the day and salve Sergei’s fragile ego. The moral of the story is don’t send a boy to do a man’s job.


Stanis?aw Moniuszko (1819–72), called “the father of Polish national opera,” is one of those composers whose name I’d come across from time to time but not a note of whose music I’d ever heard before now. Like his more famous compatriot Chopin, Moniuszko also wrote nocturnes, mazurkas, polonaises, and waltzes for piano, but unlike Chopin, Moniuszko’s considerable output was mainly in the areas of large symphonic, choral, and stage works. The six contradances performed here are quite varied in style. None, however, sound anything like Chopin. The broken-hearted, dancing-in-tears No. 5 sounds like a knockoff of Schubert, while the circus-tumblers’ act of No. 6 sounds like a Keystone Kops chase. No. 1 sounds like a piano transcription of a Johann Strauss Jr. waltz, while No. 4 sounds like a majordomo march straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan—strange indeed but delightful, all of them.


This is a most charming collection of music for piano four hands, and the Walachowski Duo is a pure joy to listen to. Their playing exudes a real joi de vivre and an enthusiasm for this repertoire that manifests itself in sharp rhythmic pointing and clearly defined differentiation between the pairs of hands. Also, not all of this music is readily available in competing versions. I find no other current listings for either the Moniuszko contradances or for this four-handed piano transcription of the Tchaikovsky. Excellent recording too. Recommended to all fans of duo-piano music.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 2 in D minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
2.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 3 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
3.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 5 in F sharp minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
4.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 7 in A major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
5.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 11 in D minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
6.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 20 in E minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
7.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 21 in E minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1880; Austria 
8.
Dolly, Op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1897; France 
9.
Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Russia 
Notes: Arranged: Sergei Rachmaninov 
10.
Contredanses (6) by Stanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Anna Walachowski (Piano), Ines Walachowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 

Sound Samples

21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 2 in D minor
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 3 in F major
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 5 in F sharp minor
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 7 in A major
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 8 in A minor
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 11 in D minor
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 20 in E minor
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 21 in E minor
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Berceuse
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Mi-a-ou
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Le Jardin de Dolly
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Kitty Valse
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Tendresse
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: Le pas Espagnol
The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a (arr. S. Rachmaninov for 2 pianos): I. Introduction - The Lilac Fairy
The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a (arr. S. Rachmaninov for 2 pianos): II. Adagio - Pas d'action
The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a (arr. S. Rachmaninov for 2 pianos): III. Characteristic Dance
The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a (arr. S. Rachmaninov for 2 pianos): IV. Panorama
The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a (arr. S. Rachmaninov for 2 pianos): V. Waltz
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 1
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 2
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 3
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 4
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 5
6 Contredanses: Contredanse Figura No. 6

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