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Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Micallef-inanga Piano Duo


Release Date: 07/16/2002 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 25   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Glen InangaJennifer Micallef
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A revealing programme of Ravel’s four­handed piano works‚ excellently played.

Few composers can rival Ravel in the brilliance and subtlety of his instrumentation‚ which makes it surprising that he wrote so many of his orchestral works with a two­piano version either completed beforehand or conceived alongside the full orchestral score. That gives an extra validity to this fine collection‚ particularly when the young‚ prize­winning duo of Jennifer Micallef and Glen Inanga are so responsive‚ so naturally in sympathy with the idiom. What they consistently demonstrate in each of these works is that though piano­tone is inevitably more limited than orchestral‚ Ravel was at least as much in love with the
Read more keyboard and its colourings as with the orchestra. All these performances demonstrate that love to the full‚ both tonally and technically‚ with bold glissandos for example invariably performed with winning relish. The title ‘Music for Two Pianos’ is not quite correct in that the suite‚ Ma mère l’oye‚ in its original form as here‚ is for four hands at a single keyboard‚ not two. The collection starts with the work which in many ways is the least appropriate for two­piano arrangement‚ the Introduction and Allegro‚ in which one piano has a transcription of the central harp part‚ and the other fills in the rest. If one initially misses the subtlety of the original‚ Micallef and Inanga with their passionate treatment of bravura writing‚ using the most persuasive rubato‚ quickly make one appreciate the merits of the alternative. Obviously‚ that use of rubato is more easily achieved with a duo than with a full orchestra‚ a point that comes out very clearly in the Rapsodie espagnole’s ‘Malagueña’. The ‘Habanera’ from the same suite was written earlier than the other three movements‚ and was originally coupled with the much squarer ‘Entre Cloches’ – also included here – under the title Sites auriculaires. Bell­sounds are also involved in the fragment‚ Frontispice‚ written in 1918 as the introduction to a collection of war­poems. Using a third pianist in a piece lasting barely more than a minute‚ it brings some extraordinary polytonal writing‚ totally un­Ravelian‚ before settling into a sequence of open chords. A curiosity. The other major item‚ Shéhérazade‚ should not be confused with the song­cycle of that name. Ravel described it as a ‘fairy overture’‚ originally designed for an opera he never completed. In this two­piano version with hard keyboard textures‚ it is less evocative than tough‚ sounding more modern than the orchestral version. Best of all is La valse‚ a brilliant transcription already a favourite with two­piano duos. Micallef and Inanga‚ instead of emerging from formless clouds of notes at the start‚ at once establish hints of the waltz rhythm‚ and go from strength. As in the complex finale of Rapsodie espagnole‚ ‘Feria’‚ piano tone regularly helps to clarify textures. Among comparable collections of Ravel’s piano versions‚ the Chandos disc of Lortie and Mercier‚ with slightly cooler performances at broader speeds‚ has many of the same items but includes Boléro instead of Shéhérazade‚ Frontispice and ‘Entre cloches’.

-- Gramophone [8/2002]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Glen Inanga (Piano), Jennifer Micallef (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; France 
2.
Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Glen Inanga (Piano), Jennifer Micallef (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 
3.
Sites auriculaires: Entre cloches by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jennifer Micallef (Piano), Glen Inanga (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1897; France 
4.
Ma mère l'oye by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Glen Inanga (Piano), Jennifer Micallef (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Notes: Composition written: France (1908 - 1910). 
5.
Ouverture de féerie "Shéhérazade" by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jennifer Micallef (Piano), Glen Inanga (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1898; France 
6.
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jennifer Micallef (Piano), Glen Inanga (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
7.
Frontispice for 2 Pianos 5 hands by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jennifer Micallef (Piano), Glen Inanga (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; France 

Sound Samples

Introduction et Allegro: (version for 2 pianos)
Rapsodie espagnole (version for 2 pianos): I. Prelude a la nuit
Rapsodie espagnole (version for 2 pianos): II. Malaguena
Rapsodie espagnole (version for 2 pianos): III. Habanera
Rapsodie espagnole (version for 2 pianos): IV. Feria
Sites auriculaires: Entre cloches
Ma mere l'oye (Mother Goose) (arr. for 2 pianos): I. Pavane de la belle au bois dormant (Pavane of Beauty Sleeping in the Wood)
Ma mere l'oye (Mother Goose) (arr. for 2 pianos): II. Petit poucet (Tom Thumb)
Ma mere l'oye (Mother Goose) (arr. for 2 pianos): III. Laideronette, Imperatrice des pagodes (Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas)
Ma mere l'oye (Mother Goose) (arr. for 2 pianos): IV. Les entretiens de la belle et de la bete (The Conversations of Beauty and the Beast)
Ma mere l'oye (Mother Goose) (arr. for 2 pianos): V. Le jardin feerique (The Fairy Garden)
Sheherazade, Ouverture de feerie (arr. for 2 pianos)
Frontispice
La valse (version for 2 pianos)

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