This delightfully frothy collection of duo piano music seems to have been released specifically to commemorate the 2009 wedding of the two players, and you even get a couple of their wedding photos in the booklet notes, along with various effusions from Pascal Rogé in French and English. It is, however, not an album of wedding music; only the title track, a little-known duo by Saint-Saëns, has anything to do with weddings. Instead, the happy couple romps through a selection of mostly forgotten, mostly French music, some of it originally for duo piano, some of it arranged. The sunny mood does not darken even in the arrangement of Ravel's La Valse (by the composer himself); somehow the music seems less decadent in this version than in the one for full orchestra. The highlight is a work that's neither old nor French; Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara's Ami, written for Ami Rogé, here receives its world premiere. The piece works in references to everything from a Webern twelve-tone row to a cowboy song without losing its basic flavor, which is close to the Poulenc pieces that close the program. Duo pianists should check out the Chihara work, which is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and this entire project is high-spirited and genuinely lighthearted in a way that's rare in the world of classical music these days.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Dolly, Op. 56|