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David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2013

So we have come to the eighteenth and last volume of the orchestral, vocal and chamber music of Brahms in versions produced in four-hands piano arrangements. This massive venture that has taken the German piano duo of Silke-Thora Matthias and Christian Kohn almost twenty years to complete, this final installment technically the most challenging of all. The objective of the composer was to allow performances of his works outside of those major cities who had the luxury of a symphony orchestra, though the present arrangement calls for two virtuoso pianists that would have been an equal luxury. For a start it required one pianist who could tackle the demands of the solo part, and the other has an even more demanding task of filling in the densely orchestrated role…there are passages that sound even more beautiful than in the orchestral version. The duo do enjoy a very slow tempo for the third movement, but elsewhere the pulse is quite quick, almost dancing their way through the finale that sounds more lighthearted than we would find in the orchestral version. Brahms also arranged music by Joseph Joachim, his friend and violin partner, including the concert overture to Shakespeare’s Henry IV, a highly charged work. The recorded sound continues the outstanding quality I have noted throughout. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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