Miracles at the Wigmore Hall Bavouzet / Shishkin side by side as one

  • Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Dmitry Shishkin

In this programme Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is joined by the young Russian pianist who won the Geneva International Music Competition in 2019 and second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition the following year; their joint programme places Debussy in the midst of his musical milieu, with works written or transcribed for two pianos.

Some wondrous sounds from the Wigmore Hall live stream.
Two Yamaha pianos amazingly played as one with such subtle refined sounds like jewels gleaming and glistening in the masterly hands of two supreme musicians.
Have two pianos ever sounded so full of ravishing insinuating and exhilarating sounds.
Bavouzet the master musician that we have admired for years has tamed this young lion Dmitri Shishkin who has amazed and astonished us in international competitions but not until today has he move us as he did tonight side by side with Bavouzet.Amazingly not twice as loud but twice as many colours .A true kaleidoscope of sounds like a musical prism of reflected sounds of sumptuous beauty.What a masterly lesson of true musicianship
Master chefs who have treated our musical palettes to a sumptuous feast that I have never heard or thought possible from two pianos.

The live stream is available for 30 days ………. https://youtube.com/watch?v=yNqzWzDulWA&feature=share.

Such a fascinating programme that it is worth looking more closely :

Debussy Nocturnes (1897-9) transcribed by Maurice Ravel
Nuages • Fêtes • Sirènes transcribed by Zoltán Kocsis

Based on comments in various Debussy letters it has generally been assumed that composition of the Nocturnes began in 1892 under the title Trois Scènes au Crépuscule (“Three Scenes at Twilight”) for orchestra However, the lack of actual manuscripts makes it impossible to determine whether such works were truly related to the Nocturnes.Trois Scènes au Crépuscule was inspired by ten poems by Henri de Régnier entitled Poèmes anciens et romanesques (published in 1890).Régnier was a symbolist poet, and his poems contain vivid imagery and dreamlike associations of ideas. In a letter of 1907, Debussy writes “I am more and more convinced that music, by its very nature, is something that cannot be cast into a traditional and fixed form. It is made up of colors and rhythms”It was first performed in 1901 and Ravel,was asked to make an arrangement of it for two pianos and Debussy sent him a signed copy of the score ‘in true sympathy’.

“Nuages” renders the immutable aspect of the sky and the slow, solemn motion of the clouds, fading away in grey tones lightly tinged with white. — Debussy .One day, in stormy weather, as Debussy was crossing the Pont de la Concorde in Paris with his friend Paul Poujaud, he told him that on a similar kind of day the idea of the symphonic work “Clouds” had occurred to him: he had visualized those very thunderclouds swept along by a stormy wind; a boat passing, with its horn sounding. These two impressions are recalled in the languorous succession of chords and by the short chromatic theme on the English horn.”Fêtes” gives the vibrating, dancing rhythm of the atmosphere with sudden flashes of light. There is also the episode of the procession (a dazzling fantastic vision), which passes through the festive scene and becomes merged in it. But the background remains resistantly the same: the festival with its blending of music and luminous dust participating in the cosmic rhythm. — Debussy. “Sirènes” depicts the sea and its countless rhythms and presently, amongst the waves silvered by the moonlight, is heard the mysterious song of the Sirens as they laugh and pass on. — Debussy The complete work was transcribed in its final version in 1910 for two pianos by Ravel and Raoul Bardac (Debussy’s pupil and stepson), and was first performed in 1911.Ravel admitted that the most difficult piece to arrange had been ‘Sirènes’, and tonight’s performance uses the later transcription of this movement made by Zoltán Kocsis

Franz Liszt Concerto pathétique S258 (pub. 1866)
Allegro energico – Grandioso – Andante sostenuto – Allegro agitato assai – Andante, quasi marcia funebre – Allegro trionfante

The experimental nature of the Concerto pathétique gives it an outstanding place amongst Liszt’s vast output . The composer made many attempts to find an appropriate title — Grand solo de concert, Grand Concert, Morceau de Concert, etc. — indicating that this work was an experiment with new forms.Liszt did not smooth out those “rough edges.” He simply used some of the thematic material to compose an entirely new work in similar large-scale form — the Sonata in B minor.It is typical for Liszt that he did not destroy the earlier solo work (Grosses Concert-Solo) but rearranged it in the two-piano version Concerto pathétique. Since Liszt had projected a piano concerto version but dropped the plan, the two-piano arrangement can be seen as a sort of compromise. In this version Liszt seems to have been more interested in the concerto-like effects of the two-piano ensemble than in structural innovations, because he left the overall design of the solo version unaltered. The suggestion of a concerto version can be detected in various remarks such as quasi arpa, quasi timpani, etc., and the fact that the first piano part is more virtuosic throughout.


Bartok 2 Pictures Op. 10 (1910) transcribed by Zoltán Kocsis In Full Flower • Village Dance

Béla Bartók composed his 2 Pictures Op. 10 in 1910, just before writing Bluebeard’s Castle. He was under the spell of Debussy, and influenced by other contemporary composers including Delius whom he had met at a performance of Delius’s Brigg Fair in May 1910 .They corresponded about folk music and its influence on their work and Bartók offered to send Delius some Romanian folksongs, and it is these that are most apparent in the 2 Pictures. The first, ‘In Full Flower’, is rhapsodic, with hints of folksong and pentatonic scales, decorated with birdsong. The second, ‘Village Dance’, is more overtly inspired by the folk dances Bartók heard in Transylvania. The opening theme, heard in bare octaves, dominates this rondo in which two further ideas provide contrast. ‘.It was written for orchestra but Bartók made a solo piano arrangement published in 1912. The present version for two pianos was made by the Zoltán Kocsis (1952–2016) friend and duo partner of Bavouzet and was published in 1978.

Ravel La valse (1919-20)

La valse, poème chorégraphique pour orchestre (a choreographic poem for orchestra), by Ravel between February 1919 and 1920; it was first performed on 12 December 1920 in Paris.Ravel himself, however, denied that it is a reflection of post-World war 1 saying, “While some discover an attempt at parody, indeed caricature, others categorically see a tragic allusion in it – the end of the Second Empire, the situation in Vienna after the war, etc… This dance may seem tragic, like any other emotion… pushed to the extreme. But one should only see in it what the music expresses: an ascending progression of sonority, to which the stage comes along to add light and movement .It doesn’t have anything to do with the present situation in Vienna, and it also doesn’t have any symbolic meaning in that regard. In the course of La Valse, I did not envisage a dance of death or a struggle between life and death.The two-piano arrangement by Ravel was first publicly performed by Ravel and Alfredo Casella.

Sites Auriculaires written by Ravel in 1895/97 was played as an encore and is a youthful homage to Spain – the first piece, Habanera , “of languid sensuality”, is “imbued with nostalgia” The score features a quote from Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal , “In the fragrant country that the sun caresses …” and includes many new features :such as the effect to be used later in Le Gibet from Gaspard de la nuit and many other original effects “a stroke of brilliance from the young master” .It was later orchestrated by Ravel and appears in his Rapsodie Espagnole of 1907.In the second piece, Entre cloches , the vibrations of the two pianos merge, “like the resonances of brass” to use the words of Alfred Cortot

Trois Nocturnes Debussy, Arr Ravel 1901 – III Sirenes -This is Ravel’s transcription of Sirenes played by Anne Shasby and Richard McMahon fellow students of Gordon Green at the Royal Academy in London.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ6WtbBZ5B0 Josef & Rosina Lhévinne play Debussy Fêtes –


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