FringeReview UK 2019
Clelia Iruzun and Yoko Ono play a four hands piano recital play Debussy’s Petite Suite and a selection of lesser-known South American four0hands music and arrangements.
Four hands piano is the most tricky and sometimes the most thrilling pianism about: a crescendo with four hands leaves your spirit not your nerves jangling. But unanimity is notorious. These two favourite soloists prove they have it almost to perfection.
We’re mainly in Iruzun’s territory. Starting with the four-part Debussy Petite Suite of 1889 with its melting tunes derived from Fauré and even Massenet, Debussy’s a true voice is coming through. It’s still a staple of the repertoire though often heard in its orchestral guise.
‘En Bateau’ marked Andantino seems to riff off Fauré’s Barcarolles, particularly the iridescent middle of the 13, with flashing water reflections and sparkling days by the river. But the haunting’s more tenebrous in ‘Cortege’ with its dappled strange lost-in-sunlight melancholy. But it’s a youthful one, still singing as if putting on an air.
The pace of all four movements is never slow, not even here, marked Moderato. It’s like a river song rather than cortege, such is the melodic shape. The minuet’s also Moderato which tell you a lot a fleet attractive potent of Debussy’s fast music, where it can be found.
The Allegro giusto of the Finale tells you we’re speeding in ‘Ballet’ to a Massenet-like conclusion with counter-melodies and a completely different sound-world to the wonder of the first two movements. Throughout the two pianists display a near-ideal balance in this often-played music It never loses its charm, and certainly not here.
The next works were unknown to me. Bernado Caldova was born in 1965, now a Professor at the Brazil Conservatoire. His ‘Encise’ is an attractive genre piece, the kind of thing you might have expected in the 1930s. It enjoys panache and local flavour. Te same can’t be said of the more interesting ‘Grafiz’ by Ricardo Touchian born 1939 and celebrating his 80th this eyar with a retrospective marking him out for notice in brazil. His edgier tonalities – think Ginastera and more mid-century sharp lyricism – are gratefully rendered by the duo who see particularly happy to breathe this rarer mountain air. It’s sparer, tricksier, and rewarding.
Saul Cosentino is another name I don’t know, an Argeninean born 1935 and a specialist in Tango. His ‘Cancion’ and ‘El Nuovo Tango’ were attractive and again there’s a modernist lyricism shot through the more conventional format.
Finally a more familiar name: Francisco Mignone (1897-1986) whose Italian flautist emigrated to Brazil the year before Mignone was born there. His ‘Ludu’ and ‘Congara’ are shot through with post Villa-Lobos density and sudden simpler panache. Famous for forging his own less contrapuntal idiom, his bel canto compositional style nevertheless here acts like an adrenalin rush at the end of the recital.
A superbly welcome return; and recital of mainly rare but fascinating repertoire in a combo increasingly popular once again.