Dennis Russell Davies / Maki Namekawa

Music 4 Hands

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This 2004 release from Orange Mountain Music of works for two pianos by Steve Reich and Philip Glass is a fairly representative package, but because of its brevity and narrow musical interest, it may only attract the most die-hard fans of minimalism. Both Reich and Glass have instantly recognizable musical signatures, and these pieces are easy-to-follow examples of their fully developed styles: gradually expanding and evolutionary, as in Reich's slowly unfolding, staggered pattern pieces, or segmented and statically repetitive, as in Glass' modular treatment of his material. As performed by duo pianists Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies, Reich's slowly shifting Piano Phase is tightly coordinated, controlled, and consistent in tone and energy; and the music of Glass' Six Scenes from Les Enfants Terribles is rhythmically varied and almost pictorially beguiling. However, these offerings are too short and limited in content to be considered generous or satisfying, and though devotees may immediately snap up this album, others may find its timing at less than 52 minutes to be a little chintzy for a full-priced CD. Also issued in 2004 as Images 4 Music, a DVD with tedious abstract visuals, this seems to be an unnecessarily overdone project with scant rewards, though this disc is at least acceptable as a précis of its composers' mature works.

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