Bax & Chung Piano Duo

Bax & Chung Piano Duo

Stravinsky, Brahms, Piazzolla

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(Signum Classics)

Here's a cracker. Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung are a celebrated piano duo (and man and wife). Their new album on Signum crams in a mix of repertoire and an amalgam of musical styles, with Stravinsky's Petrushka rubbing shoulders with Brahms Waltzes and Piazzolla's tangos. It looks like a stylistic train crash but it unfurls into an intoxicating flavour of exhilarating musical experience. If there is one element that integrates the mix it is the playing style of the two young pianists, who have a fascinating clarity and delicacy to their four-hand pianism. The articulate bustle of the Shrove Tide Fair in the outer tableaux of Petrushka should dazzle listeners (even if the great Coachmens' Dance in the final tableau is a bit light). The Brahms, not often played, is a wonder, to which I will return, and the Piazzolla is pure magic: basically the two pianists take the themes, rhythms and harmonies of four of Piazzolla's tangos and improvise on them to brilliant effect.

Michael Tumelty