POUL RUDERS (b.1949): Cembal D’Amore (Second Book) for Harpsichord and Piano, PAUL LANSKY (b.1944): Out of the Blue for 2 Pianos, TOD MACHOVER (b.1953): Re-Structures for 2 Pianos and Live Electronics, OFER BEN-AMOTS (b.1955): Tango for the Road for 2 Pianos, GYÖRGY KURTÁG (b.1926): Életút Lebenslauf for Piano, Quarter-Tone Piano and 2 Basset Horns, Op. 32 (Andy Stevens, Sergei Vassiliev [basset horns]).
Catalogue Number: 12T054
Description: The largest work here, and the one that makes this disc essential listening, is Ruders' deliriously eccentric baroque suite in eight virtuosic movements. The unlikely combination of instruments works perfectly, with each exploring its own keyboard techniques and timbres in music that is sufficiently strongly based in tonality and traditional forms for the allusions to a conventional suite of dances to be instantly appreciable, transcribed into a surreal dreamlike, sometimes almost nightmarish, form, suggesting possessed music boxes or player pianos reinterpreting authentic Baroque music for themselves. Machover's piece, a 90th birthday tribute to Boulez, is nothing like as forbidding as it sounds. Taking its cue from Boulez' Structures, but aiming to bring out the "warmth and passion" - often overlooked aspects of Boulez' essential 'French-ness' as composer - the work is rich and relatively consonant, the swirling electronics adding colour to the textures. Separating the pianos by a quarter-tone imbues Kurtág's sequence of typically tiny folk-influenced pieces with a strange, dreamlike atmosphere. The disc opens and closes with appealing, tonal works; a post-minimalist étude and a lively exploration of the moods of the tango, the instruments acting as partners in the precision and passion of the dance. Quattro Mani.