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Suite for two pianos No 2 'Silhouettes', Op 23

'Arensky: Suites for Two Pianos' (CDA66755)
Arensky: Suites for Two Pianos
Movement 1: Le Savant
Movement 2: La Coquette
Movement 3: Polochinelle
Movement 4: Le RÍveur
Movement 5: La Danseuse

Suite for two pianos No 2 'Silhouettes', Op 23
The Suite No 2, Op 23, written in 1892, is subtitled ‘Silhouettes’. It is in five movements, each representing a different character. The first, Le Savant (The Scholar), is a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of academic contrapuntal writing and is possibly a self-mocking portrait of the composer himself as Professor of Counterpoint at the Moscow Conservatory. La Coquette is one of Arensky’s most delightful waltzes, full of sly glances and thoroughly teasing, whilst Polichinelle (The Clown) is a truly virtuosic tour de force with both pianists negotiating trills in thirds and octaves alongside fast skipping pianissimo chords. Le Rêveur (The Dreamer) is a gentle romance movement which nevertheless contains a middle section of surprising harmonic boldness and which builds to an impressive climax before subsiding again into more gentle dreams. La Danseuse (The Dancer) is far from the elegant ballrooms of Tsarist Russia; this is a fiery Spanish dance and contains some of Arensky’s finest and most impressive two-piano writing.

from notes by Stephen Coombs © 1994

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Details for CDA66755 track 8
La Danseuse
Recording date
5 June 1994
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Keith Warren
Hyperion usage
  1. Arensky: Suites for Two Pianos (CDA66755)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: October 1994
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