Yin-Yang Piano Duo


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This offbeat recital by Belgium's Yin-Yang Piano Duo relies on the ramifications of Bach's music throughout the musical world of the 20th century, including in the works of Jewish Hungarian composer György Kurtág. Kurtág's unique versions of Bach's chorale preludes from Orgelbüchlein, composed in the 1970s, are designated as transcriptions, but that's not really the right word. Nor is arrangements. Part of a larger series of works called Játékok (Games), they are really recompositions of Bach's pieces, leaving the original notes intact but adding harmonic complexities, evocations of original organ registrations, and aspects of Kurtág's own more atonal language in a seamless blend that makes the music seem like a mysterious meeting of the minds. These fascinating little pieces have been recorded before, but the Yin-Yang Duo takes the logical step of pairing them with short two-piano works by Bartók; the two-piano pieces from the pedagogical series Mikrokosmos, themselves heavily influenced by Bach (and by the pedagogical function of some of Bach's own keyboard music), have a perfect synergy with the Kurtág pieces, while the earlier Suite for two pianos, Op. 4b, and Két Kép, Op. 10, an orchestral work transcribed for two pianos by Zoltán Kocsis, vary the mood with the more lush languages of the early 20th century. The latter work is unusual among Bartók's output for its use of Debussy's whole-tone scale, and the suite also contains Debussyian features that Bartók apparently arrived at independently. The performances are very sharp, with the two pianists admirably attuned to each other in the more precise Bachian works. Recommended for anyone interested in the Bartók legacy.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Liebster Jesu wir sind hier, BWV 633
1 1:27
2 1:24
Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619
3 1:01
Suite for 2 pianos, Op. 4b, BB 122
4 6:28
5 8:35
6 8:07
7 6:47
8 2:18
9 0:57
10 1:12
11 1:17
Két Kép (2 Images), Op. 10, BB 59
12 7:13
13 9:01
14 0:52
15 1:11
16 3:03
17 2:01
Seven pieces for 2 pianos from Mikrokosmos, BB 120
18 1:09
19 1:05
20 0:58
21 0:49
22 0:55
23 1:05
24 2:22
Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619
25 0:55
26 0:44
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 633
27 1:26
blue highlight denotes track pick