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HOLST The Planets & York BOWEN Suite
(York 2 piano duo)

HOLST The Planets, Op.32 (piano 4 hands/Day & Lasker/John and Fiona York)
York BOWEN Suite in Three Movements, Op.52; Suite No.2: Moto perpetuo

Fiona York and John York (piano duettists)


The York2 piano duo (Mr & Mrs York) had a coup at Wigmore Hall in October 2004, when they premiered the rediscovered 4-hand piano score of The Planets, found in a cupboard at St Paul's Girl's School, where Holst taught and John York is Director of Piano.

I did not attend there, and thought The Planets for piano duet an unlikely recorded "need", but here it is, and I was tempted to ask to review it after seeing a rave review on musicweb.

Certainly it is well played and recorded at Wyastone Hall, and I enjoyed particularly the vivacity of Mercury, the winged messenger and the atmospheric long drawn out diminuendo to a niente conclusion of Neptune, the Mystic. But I have to confess that my doubts were confirmed; The Planets has never been a personal favourite of mine on orchestra, and I cannot find any enduring advantage in this reduction except for its usefulness in domestic settings, and no doubt for rehearsing a ballet arrangement ??

I preferred the Bowen Suite, which really is piano duet music of a high order, and it is one for competent duettists to acquire and for music college piano departments to consider for their recital programmes.

Peter Grahame Woolf