Portuguese Music for Piano Duo

Portuguese Music for Piano Duo

Portuguese Music For Piano Duo
Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9

What varied and interesting piano duet repertoire we have here! The Melodias rüsticas portuguesas by Fernando Lopes-Garcia (1906-1994) transform catchy folk melodies into charming miniatures full of subtle dissonant jabs and attractive modal harmony. The three-movement Sonatina by Sérgio Azvedo (born 1968) evokes Poulenc’s caustic wit and Milhaud’s busy counterpoint, and seems as fun to play as it is to hear.

José Vianna da Motta (1868-1948) was the last surviving Liszt pupil and a close associate of Ferruccio Busoni. His Erinnerungen Op. 7 are cut from the same conservative Romantic cloth one finds in Schumann and Liszt imitators, but that’s an observation, not a criticism. However, Storyboard by Fernando C. Lapa (1930) reveals a composer with a distinct voice and a gift for post-Impressionist mood painting.

António Victorino de Almeida (born 1941) is not to be confused with the late conductor who bears a similar name. If there’s anything in his tuneful and texturally rich Balada that conjures up the image its subtitle suggests (a child about to be born), I can’t perceive it. Not that it matters. What matters is how the Duarte and Madeira duo’s caring interpretations and polished ensemble work do full justice to these five composers. Highly recommended.


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