In the 19th century, and even early in the 20th, orchestral and chamber music was commonly arranged and published for piano, four-hands, as a way to widely circulate pieces to amateur musicians. Before the invention of the phonograph, such arrangements were regarded as an essential way to learn works and to hear them in the home, though the performances were no doubt as variable as the talents of the musicians involved. This hybrid SACD from Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm presents two examples of works by Ludwig van Beethoven in transcription, the Symphony No. 7 in A major, as arranged by Franz Xaver Scharwenka, and Beethoven's own keyboard version of the Grosse Fuge in B flat major, performed by the Piano Duo Trenkner & Speidel. The revival of these and other historic transcriptions has added to the repertoire of such performers as Evelinde Trenkner and Sontraud Speidel, who play with extraordinary energy and musicality, and make these transcriptions much more entertaining than utilitarian substitutes for the original versions. The recording is MDG's usual multichannel presentation with clean and direct sound, though the pianos are somewhat recessed in the rather resonant studio acoustics.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 7 Op. 92, A major|
Great Fugue Op. 134, B flat major: Overtura. Allegro, Fuga. Allegro - Meno mosso e moderato - Allegro - Allegro molto e con brio