While these performances of Rachmaninov's works for two pianos are not exactly subtle and surely not restrained, they are nevertheless absolutely riveting. Separately, English pianist Peter Donohoe and Martin Roscoe are fabulous virtuosos; together, they are a non-stop music machine of incredible power and unbelievable strength. Try "Páques," the last movement of the first Suite and the last track on this disc. Obviously swiped from the Coronation Scene from Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, the music is always immensely impressive -- but in Donohoe and Roscoe's performance, it's positively devastating. But that's not all they have to give: they can also do colorful. Try the opening Non Allegro from the Symphonic Dances. Not only does Donohoe and Roscoe's performance move and sway and sing, it somehow contrives to have colors as radiant and textures as glittering as the orchestral version of the same work. But even that's not all they have to give: they can also do sensuous. Try the Romance: Andantino from the second Suite, or try the Andante con moto (Tempo di valse) from the Symphonic Dances, or, especially, try "La nuit...l'amour" from the first Suite. There have been other sensitive and soulful performances of these movements, but there have rarely been performances so deeply sensual. Altogether, as fine a single disc of these three works as is available, and although Naxos' sound is a bit close, that only enhances the effect of the performances.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphonic Dances, for orchestra (or 2 pianos), Op. 45|
|Suite No. 2 for 2 pianos in C major, Op. 17|
|Suite No. 1 ("Fantaisie-tableaux") for 2 pianos in G minor, Op. 5|