Various: Scenes from West Side Story; Four-Piece Suite; Fantasy on Porgy and Bess

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Carlton
WORKS: Scenes from West Side Story; Four-Piece Suite; Fantasy on Porgy and Bess
PERFORMER: David Nettle, Richard Markham (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 30366 01042

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David Nettle and Richard Markham are leading artists in their field, having formed their duo nearly 20 years ago. These discs include their own arrangements alongside music originally conceived for two pianos. The American disc is the most enjoyable, although here, as elsewhere, the somewhat dry recorded sound tends to undermine the subtlety of the performances.

The duo’s West Side Story arrangement is highly successful and so too is the excellent Porgy and Bess Fantasy by Grainger. Grainger also features through several of his own compositions on the disc devoted to England. This contains many short items, and the effect of the whole is rather less than the sum of the parts, although the programme does contain some unexpected music, such as Holst’s own arrangement of ‘Jupiter’.

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The French disc also has an interesting mixture, but it is disappointing that Ravel’s Mother Goose is represented by just a single movement and not the complete suite. Nor do the various Songs of the Auvergne arrangements work particularly well, though the Milhaud, Ibert and Poulenc items do bring ample compensation. Terry Barfoot