MusicWeb International

Musicmaking by piano duettists, four hands at one piano, has a long history and many works we think of as orchestral started out as piano duets. This is reflected on this CD: Grieg’s Norwegian Dances .. [etc], Sometimes the process works in the opposite direction, as here with Anitra’s Dance and Leroy Anderson’s Fiddle Faddle , though these performers do not, despite their obvious enjoyment in playing it, quite convince me that the latter is not preferable in its original string orchestral mode.

Rachel and Vanessa Fuidge are twins and, at the time of writing, 17 years of age and living in Glossop, Derbyshire. They have behind them many successes in music festivals and a not inconsiderable concert experience. Their playing, if not quite not perfect, has accomplishment, enterprise and a charming freshness. They are excellent musicians and have a wide taste in repertoire. Some might feel it a disadvantage that their programme seems a trifle “bitty” – just one Norwegian Dance, – but to me it suggests a desire to play as wide a range of music as possible. And there are plenty of pieces which are relatively, even almost entirely, unfamiliar to audiences. Philip Lane’s Mouvement Perpetuel, one of his four Badinages , was a tribute to Lord Berners and suitably whimsical. Casella’s “five easy pieces” Pupazetti (Puppets) have their astringencies, to be sure, but they are rhythmic and atmospheric. Also it is good to have on disc the Paganiana by the Maltese composer Charles Camilleri, one of the latest, and probably the most concise, attempts – of many by a variety of composers – at varying that celebrated Paganini violin Caprice and, a lollipop to finish, the Duo Tango by the Italian Paolo di Biase (born 1942) but very Spanish in feel.

The recording, made at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where the twins study at weekends, is very clear and natural and I have the greatest pleasure in recommending this disc as an introduction to the wide range, both familiar and less familiar, of the piano duet repertoire.

—Philip L. Scowcroft