Before the widespread availability of phonograph recordings, composers frequently promoted their orchestral music through transcriptions for piano, in many cases for two pianos if the music's complexity demanded it. Igor Stravinsky once played his transcription of his ballet Le Sacre du printemps with Claude Debussy, who described it as "a beautiful nightmare," and apart from a handful of controversial orchestral performances, it was heard most often in the keyboard reduction until after WWI. Since Le Sacre's centennial anniversary in 2013, the two-piano transcription has become quite popular again, and it is a favorite showpiece among virtuosos who enjoy its challenges and its flashiness, so it's no surprise that Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and François-Frédéric Guy have chosen it as the main work of this 2015 Chandos release. The other selections, Béla Bartók's Two Pictures, transcribed for two pianos by Zoltán Kocsis, and Debussy's Jeux, transcribed by Bavouzet, don't have the historical significance of Stravinsky's transcription, but their place on this program is justified by the importance of the composers, and the fact that these works were also first heard in 1913. This album is strongly recommended to fans of music for two pianos, though most other listeners will prefer the full versions for orchestra.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Two Pictures, for orchestra|
|Jeux, poème dansé|
Prélude - Très lent - Scherzando (Tempo initial) - Mouvement du Prélude - Tempo initial (Scherzando e molto grazioso)...
Le jeune homme a suivi cette dernière danse par curiosité d'abord, y prenant ensuite un intérêt particulier...
|Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), ballet for orchestra|
Première Partie. L'Adoration de la terre. Les Augures printaniers. Danses des adolescentes - Apparition des adolescentes -