Shanti Sungkono / Sonja Sungkono

Sonja & Shanti Sugkono: The 20th Century Piano Duets Collection

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Sonja and Shanti Sungkono hail from Jakarta by way of Germany. The 20th Century Piano Duets Collection is their second release for New Classical Adventure. Most of this repertoire is fairly standard stuff for piano duo. Although Colin McPhee's once obscure Balinese Ceremonial Music is gaining ground in the central literature and Raimo Kangro's much later music probably belongs there, the proof here is in the playing, rather than in the pudding or any other factor one might consider. The Sungkonos' Bartók is especially dynamic and engaging, but the whole disc is bursting with enthusiasm and energy from the wild thrill ride that is Kangro's Klimper Op. 20/4 all the way to their dazzling and urgent realization of Danses Andalouses of Manuel Infante. The Sungkonos are sisters and work toward a unified, near orchestral sound; if photographs of the ensemble are to be trusted, even in two-piano literature they apparently prefer to sit together at the same bench. If a listener is already clearly devoted to multi-hand piano music, then he/she will certainly not want to miss this, but also general classical music fans should be able to easily enjoy this disc, given the sheer excitement of the music and the brilliance of the Sungkonos' playing. Please take another encore! We'll sit here all night if we have to, just to hear more.

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