This recording of instrumental music opens with Giuseppe Martucci's Verdi-inspired fantasia on "Un Ballo in Maschera." As it is written for four hands rather than two pianos, there is a distinct difference in pitch between each piano's melody. After production, one piano plays upper-range melody in one channel, while the other plays a low-range supporting and answering harmony in the other channel. This adds definition to the piece and adds to the drama of a work that moves from delicate moments to bold percussions. "Fantasia in D Minor" was actually composed for two pianos. The sparse and tenuous connection of musical statements here requires virtuoso skill form the musicians. The theme bounces from one piano to the other and announces itself with strident, bell-like single notes set off in the upper register. Sonorous and eminently tragic, "Allegro in A Minor," the sole contribution from Alfonso Redano, exhibits the dichotomy of a piece written for four hands. Especially intriguing are the two selections from Alfredo Catalani, the round of this exploration of 19th century Italian music for a piano pair. Masterfully expressive and light-hearted, "Tempo Di Valzer" and the "Serenata" are exceedingly rich; in the interplay of two highly versatile instruments they magnify the joy and spirit of two basic themes. Notes are in English, French, German, and Italian.
AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte