The Keyboard Duet originated from the Mid 18th Century when Mozart composed entertaining works for himself and his sister Nannerl to play together. From then on the evolution of this limitless genre attracted attention from composers such as Bizet (1838-75) and Ravel (1875-1937).
Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games) suggests influences from Schumman’s Kindeszenen whilst developing musical characterisations of images such as La Poupee (The Doll), and children jokingly imitating adults drinking at Le Bal, (The Dance).
Ravel explored the possibilities of the four handed piano through his transcription of Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres midi d’un faune, based on the erotic poem by Stephane Mallarme, whilst writing his own set of duets Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose) Suite. The suite delves deep into the imaginary worlds of stories by Charles Perrault including Tom Thumb and The Enchanted Garden. This is highly comparative to Lucien Garban’s beautiful transcription of Ravel’s ghostly and tragic La Valse.
Philip Moore and Simon Crawford – Phillips are a flourishing, young ensemble that formed in 1995 having met as students at the Royal Academy of Music in London. They have won international acclaim and are due to appear at the Proms in August 2001 performing Concert for Two Pianos by Stravinsky. Here they provide radiant and compelling performances of this truly beautiful and exciting repertoire.
“The Kontarskys, the Labeques, the Ogdons – often successful piano duos seem to benefit from being related, or at least married to one another. Philip Moore and Simon Crawford-Phillips are to the best of my knowledge neither of these but they have that crucial quality of appearing to think with one brain, moving their fingers in response to a single artistic impulse.”
BBC Music Magazine, October 2001
“The music here is better known on full orchestra and it’s fun to spot the way different details can emerge in the piano [duet] version. Moore and Crawford-Phillips perform with unfailing beauty”
Classic FM Magazine, October 2001
“These two young players made their Proms debut last week in Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Pianos, and here they offer an enjoyable, well-arranged sequence of French music for four-hand piano. Ravel’s fascinating transcription of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune articulates the evanescent orchestral substance of the original with analytical precision while retaining a magical limpidity and flow.”
Sunday Times, August 2001
1. Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune – Claude Debussy
Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games) – Georges Bizet
2. Rêverie: L’Escarpolette (The Swing)
3. Impromptu: La Toupie (The Top)
4. Berceuse: La Poupée (The Doll)
5. Scherzo: Les Chevaux de bois (The Merry-go-round)
6. Fantaisie: Le Volant (Running and Jumping)
7. Marche: Trompette et Tambour (Trumpet & Drum)
8. Rondino: Les Bulles de Savon (Soap Bubbles)
9. Esquisse: Les quatre coins (Puss in the Corner)
10. Nocturne: Colin-Maillard (Blind Man’s Buff)
11. Caprice: Saute-Mouton (Leap-frog)
12. Duo: Petit mari, petite femme!…(Little Husband, Little Wife!)
13. Galop: Le Bal (The Dance)
Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) – Maurice Ravel
14. Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty’s Pavan)
15. Petit Poucet (Tom Thumb)
16. Laideronnette, Impératrice des Pagodes (Empress of the Pagodas)
17. Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête (Beauty & the Beast)
18. Le Jardin féerique (The Enchanted Garden)
19. La Valse – Maurice Ravel