Dvorák, Grieg, Brahms: Music For Piano Four Hands

Album cover art for upc 3760014192821
Label: ALPHA
Catalog: Alpha282
Format: CD

Chevallier, Claire; Immerseel, Jos van

The repertory for piano four hands is very large and was very popular, especially in the period between 1780 and 1950, with both professional pianists and amateur players in the home. Jos van Immerseel and Claire Chevallier chose for this recording a selection of ‘dances’ by three masters of the genre, who show a certain affinity with one another and composed the works in question within a short period of time (1878-81). Brahms wrote twenty-one dances, from which the artists have chosen the less well-known books, nos. 11 to 21. He wrote these works while living in Vienna where he got to know Hungarian folk music through the street musicians, which inspired these works. Grieg loved his country, its atmosphere and culture, and this drove his composition. He wrote: “To turn Norwegian nature, Norwegian folk life and Norwegian poetry into music. This goal appeals to me, and I feel strongly that through it I will achieve something.” Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances for piano four hands are largely inspired by the aforementioned dances by Brahms. The three composers were also pianists and knew the keyboard instruments of their time. The benchmark for them was the German style of piano construction. They knew all the possibilities but also the limitations of their instruments. For this recording, the duo chose a Bechstein grand piano of 1870, believing that a masterly restoration of a masterly instrument of the composers’ time offers a better chance of listening to the music as the composers conceived and heard it.

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