Saturday, 1 December 2012


We were invited to Bristol last evening, for Imogen Cooper and Paul Lewis' duet recital at St George's. The seemed to enjoy it as much as did the packed audience!

The programme - all performed on two pianos, notwithstanding its provenance as piano four hands - consisted, as one would expect from these specialists, mostly of Schubert; but diluted with a splash of Brahms - and some Dvořbert to end the first half: the lovely Schubert Andantino Varié elided seamlessly - and fittingly - into a couple of Dvořák's Slavonic Dances.

After the interval came a stunning performance of the astonishing Grand Duo, which seems to gather momentum throughout its 40 minutes. It was apparently written for two young Countesses - what technique they must have had! You don't often hear it; and indeed I can only recall being at one previous live performance. On that occasion, as Schubert intended, the two young lady pianists (not Countesses, but princesses) were seated at the same grand piano in the great hall at Dartington. The year? Late 'Sixties/early 'Seventies. The pianists, displaying strong elbows and a great sense of humour? Tessa Uys and... Imogen Cooper.

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