Philip Glass: Les Enfants Terribles
Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano) (DG)
Les Enfants Terribles – Suite; Etude No. 17*; Etude No. 20**
**Katia and *Marielle Labèque (piano)
DG 485 5097 61:14 mins
Les Enfants Terribles (1996), the final instalment of Philip Glass’s chamber opera trilogy based on writings by Jean Cocteau, tells a fantastical, unsettling story of two siblings. Michael Riesman’s new arrangement for two pianos was completed earlier this year and is performed here by the Labèque sisters, who have decades of experience playing music in this vein (eg Minimalist Dream House, 2013, also DG). Les Enfants Terribles has a strong dance element, and this version recalls the original piano reduction of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (also recorded by the Labèques: Invocations, 2016), particularly the gritty percussive effects heard in the overture and ‘Paul’s End’. Given that the original version of Les Enfants Terrible is for three pianos and four voices, it translates well to the medium of just two pianos, and Katia and Marielle take on the work of the missing five colleagues with ease.
Two solo etudes – No. 17 by Marielle and No. 20 by Katia – serve as encores.