WORKS: 24 Preludes; 24 Preludes
PERFORMER: João Carlos Martins, Arthur Moreira-Lima (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: LAB 7017-2 DDD (distr. Passport Music Worldwide)
Alternating Preludes from Bach’s ‘48’ with Preludes from Chopin’s 24 is a daring yet rewarding idea. Never mind the fact that Chopin designed his pieces to be heard as a sequence; it’s a pleasant shock to hear them this way – for once.
These two Brazilian pianists were recorded live and play hard on each other’s heels; Bach’s G minor Prelude starts while the end of Chopin’s Prelude in the same key is still sounding, and the transition is certainly effective.
The very first Bach Prelude, with its wonderful hammerless resonance, unexpected pauses and slow tempo, is more wilful than the rest, but although Martins is laudably uninhibited, even unpredictable, his embellishments often lack conviction on their own terms. Moreira-Lima is a gushing, sometimes blustery player but the recital as a whole is an enjoyable experience – though perhaps better not repeated many times. The two pianos are excellently matched but sound rather brash and beefy. Adrian Jack