MusicWeb

This is one of the most enjoyable CDs I’ve ever heard. Seventeen-year-old twins, Rachel and Vanessa Fuidge present a pleasantly varied programme that shows off their many fine qualities. And there is humour, too!

The order of the items is well chosen to add to the listening enjoyment, with the first movement of Philip Lane’s Badinages making a brilliant, lively start. The performers bring out all the humour in it that caused me much merriment! Then comes a lovely contrast in the two Grieg pieces in which much attention is paid to the detail, especially in the rhythms, so well in evidence… [Section omitted] . Casella’s delightful puppet portraits are played with great attention to the contrasts between them, and the humour associated with the playful nature of puppets is well pointed. The traditional composers are not overlooked and the performances of the well-known pieces by… Saint-Saëns all have a splendid freshness about them. Outstanding is “Le Cygne” with some lovely dynamics in the melody and the figurations around it. Then follows an hilarious interpretation of the “Final”. It’s good to hear a different set of variations on Paganini’s famous theme – here by Charles Camilleri – especially in such a virtuosic performance! … the CD ends with two really catchy pieces, one by Leroy Anderson – the rests in the middle section adding to the fun! – and the other by Di Biase, the delicate ending of which is handled superbly by Rachel and Vanessa.

The twins have an excellent technique and a lively musicality that enables them to give superb interpretations. They are so well in control that the whole exercise sounds fun, and this communicates itself to the listener, resulting in a wonderfully enjoyable experience. The girls have written the booklet notes on each of the pieces in a clear, concise style and a short career profile is included, too. The cover photograph is outstandingly good.

I know of the work done by Jim Pattison of Dunelm Records to promote young musical talent through the medium of sound recordings. He seems to have the ability of putting performers at their ease at the sessions so that they enjoy the experience. This CD is another fine example of this practice.

Throughout, Rachel and Vanessa – helped by a superb recording – bring out the clarity of the many varied textures really well. The session was held on April 5 th , 2005 in the Whiteley Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, by kind permission of the Director of Music, and ably produced by Miss Susan Bettaney, a teaching member of staff of the Keyboard Department. An outstanding CD, full of joy! Very highly recommended.

—Ian Milnes