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Britten/Martinu WORKS FOR TWO PIANOS AND ORCHESTRA - PHCD104

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Benjamin Britten Scottish Ballad
Bohuslav Martinu Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Fantasie for Two Pianos
Three Czech Dances
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Luxembourg Radio Symphony Britten: Scottish Ballad
Ettore Stratta, conductor Martinu: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Jonas/Pierce, duo pianos Martinu:Fantasie for Two Pianos
Martinu: Three Czech Dances
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The "Scottish Ballad" is one of Britten's early works, preceding the lone "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" by about four years. Written in 1941 while the young composer was staying in Califronia, it received its premiere performance on November 28 in Cincinnati. For several years the work was included in the repertoire of Clifford Curzon and Britten when performing as a duo-pianist team. Featuring brilliantly written solo parts, the "Ballad" is in one movement, divided into three smaller sections. A whipcracking version of the Highland reel in which the pianos and orchestra try to outdo and outfun each other in virtuosity concludes the work.

Inspired by the talents and influence of the acclaimed pianists Pierre Luboschutz and Genia Nemenoff, the "Two-Piano Concerto", composed in New York in 1943, is fiendishly difficult, inflected with a kind of cataclysmic glee. The rapid toccata-like fire of the first and third movements contrasts with the power-in-repose mesmerism of the second.

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Audio Sample Description: Martinu CONCERTO FOR TWO PIANOS AND ORCHESTRA (1st movement)


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