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Milhaud: For Four Hands / Moretti, Oliviero

Milhaud / Faure / Debussy / Moretti / Oliviero
Release Date: 01/10/2012 
Label:  Camerata Records   Catalog #: 28226  
Composer:  Claude DebussyDarius MilhaudGabriel FauréLouis Durey
Performer:  Angela OlivieroMaurizio Moretti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

WORKS FOR PIANO DUET Maurizio Moretti, Angela Oliviero (pn) CAMERATA CMCD-28226 (56: 43)

DEBUSSY Petite Suite. FAURÉ Dolly Suite. DUREY 2 Pieces. MILHAUD Le Boeuf sur le toit

Every now and then you come across a recording that has it all—state-of-the-art Read more sound engineering; terrific playing; and enormously enjoyable, off-the-beaten-path repertoire. This is one of those recordings, and anyone with an interest in good music ought to hear it. (Amazon sells the whole album in MP3 format for $6.99.)

The Petite Suite , which opens the CD, is a four-movement work composed by Debussy in the late 1880s. Cut from the same shimmering cloth as the more famous Suite Bergamasque , which followed a few short years later, the Petite Suite attests to Debussy’s early fascination with the compositional techniques that would soon become his trademark—whole-tone scales, rippling arpeggios, and complex harmonies. The Dolly Suite , Fauré’s only composition for piano duo, was written roughly a decade after the Petite Suite . Coincidentally, Fauré wrote this work for the young daughter of Emma Bardac, the future Mrs. Debussy No. 2. Dolly consists of a half-dozen delightful miniatures and, unlike most of Fauré’s music for solo piano, it is relatively easy to play. Next up are two works by Louis Durey, a French composer with little name recognition who early in his long life nonetheless enjoyed a friendly relationship with Debussy and Ravel and was considered a member of the avant-garde . These Debussy-inspired works, which I had not heard before, are pleasant enough, although they do not leave much of an aftertaste. That leaves Milhaud’s famous Le Boeuf sur le toit (aka The Ox on the Roof: The Nothing-Doing Bar ), presented here in its piano duet transcription, a riot of a piece written to accompany Jean Cocteau’s surrealist ballet.

The duo of Italian pianists Maurizio Moretti and Angela Oliviero is new to me, but their work here is outstanding. They do everything right, and if there is a single moment on this recording that is not pure fun, I must have missed it. What a joy it is to hear musicians like these. In every respect, they more than hold their own against my reference performances in these works—Katia and Marielle Labèque in the Debussy, Germaine Thyssens Valentin and Henriette Puig Rogetin in the Fauré, and Stephen Coombs and Artur Pizarro in the Milhaud.

As noted, the quality of the recorded sound is outstanding. In large part this is owed to the incredible Fazioli piano selected by Moretti and Oliviero, and if you have not yet heard what these marvelous instruments sound like, this is a perfect opportunity to find out.

In sum, this is a wonderful recording that may well soon end up on my Want List.

FANFARE: Radu A. Lelutiu
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Works on This Recording

Petite suite for Piano 4 hands by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Angela Oliviero (Piano), Maurizio Moretti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1886-1889; France 
Le boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58 by Darius Milhaud
Performer:  Angela Oliviero (Piano), Maurizio Moretti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; France 
Dolly, Op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Angela Oliviero (Piano), Maurizio Moretti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1897; France 
Neige by Louis Durey
Performer:  Angela Oliviero (Piano), Maurizio Moretti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918/1919; France 
Carillons by Louis Durey
Performer:  Angela Oliviero (Piano), Maurizio Moretti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918/19; France 

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