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Rachel and Vanessa Fuidge (four hands on one piano)

Philip Lane (b.1950) Badinages I Mouvement perpetuel; Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) Norwegian Dance, Op.35, No.2; Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46: III Anitra's dance; Adolf Jensen (1837-1879) Wedding music, Op.45: Wedding procession Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Six morceaux, Gp.11: No.3 Theme Russe; No.4 Valse; Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) Pupazzetti: 5 Pezzi facili; Georges Bizet (1838-1875) Jeux d'enfants, Op.22: No.12: Le Bal; Franz Schubert (1797-1829) Marche militaire, Op.51, No.1; Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) Dolly, Op.56: 6. Le pas Espagnole; Charles Camilleri (b.1931) Paganiana; Variations for piano, four-hands; Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Le Carnaval des Animaux: XIII Le Cygne; XIV Final; Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) Legends, Op.59: No.6; Leroy Anderson (1908-1975): Fiddle Faddle; Paolo Di Biase (b.1942) Duo tango.

Dunelm DRD0241[Total time: 58:30]

Identical twins intrigue and fascinate - if they turn up in a musical family the most obvious thing to do is to sit them together at the sitting room piano and hope for the best. But the CVs of the Fuidge twins (do you pronounce them Fudge or Fidge?) worry me. They began learning piano from their mother at 4 and did the music festival rounds relentlessly; 17 trophy cups one year! Both of them play flute in groups, which ensures a sociable musical life, and Vanessa (which one is she?) spends most of her spare time composing..... Does Rachel do something completely different? I hope so. And their album's title could have two connotations.....

This well produced CD of piano music for four hands on one piano by seventeen-year-olds, mainly well-known favourites, had me thinking about twins and also about the rewarding domestic genre of piano duetting, with the pleasures and frustrations of co-operating and competing, which can lead to laughter and to tears.

Perplexing times; seen at left trying to help him out and at right being helped by him (Click on this link !)

The Fuidges rattle through their wide selection of pieces (20 tracks) confidently, but not always with great subtlety in voicing their twenty fingers moment to moment. The Chetham School piano doesn't sound too marvellous. I enjoyed the Paganiana by Camilleri (I once lectured for him in Malta) - yet another set of variations on the usual Caprice - Anderson's Fiddle Faddle, and several of the other pieces.

This CD (with photos by Jim Pattison and Judith Fuidge) should be taken for what I take it to be, a promo disc to interest promoters locally, but not a competitor on the fierce world record market. The Fuidges might better have waited a couple more years before committing themselves to a commercial CD?

Brand leaders in the piano-duo world today include the Turkish Pekinel twins, who get away from each other by playing two pianos, but achieve intuitive rapport sitting back to back without eye contact. Synchrony is not everything in chamber music; q.v. the Labèque sisters and the Kesh Duo.who have that but far more too. I hope that, as they mature, these obviously accomplished Fuidge sisters will diverge and that the tension of (presumed) different personalities working together will add a little danger and frisson to their partnership.

Kesh Duo


© Peter Grahame Woolf