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Overtures for Organ Four Hands by Handel, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Bizet, Tchaikovsky / Pietro Qasquini & Francesco Zuvadelli, organs

Notes & Reviews:

Although usually performed by large orchestras, this new release brings the overture – an introduction to an opera, ballet, suite or oratorio – to the organ, in innovative arrangements for four hands. The transcription of orchestral material onto the keyboard has proved popular throughout history, as it brought celebrated concert hall music to more intimate, domestic venues. Arrangements for two players became more fashionable during the second half of the 19th century, through virtuoso pianists such as Max Reger and Franz Liszt. On this recording, overtures from across the centuries are brought alive in imaginative duets. From the solemn, majestic introductions to Handel’s Water Music and Bach’s third Orchestral Suite to the familiar strains of the troubadour song in the overture to Bizet’s Carmen, and the dream-like, imaginary world of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite overture, the grandiose repertoire heard here is nothing but diverse. In contrast to the piano, the different combinations of stops possible on the organ allow a variety of timbres, so that the hue of the orchestral version remains largely in tact. Italian organists Pietro Pasquini and Francesco Zuvadelli have also made further adjustments and additions to existing keyboard arrangements by established composers, carefully bringing out a wealth of colours and phrases from the original compositions. They have selected two organs to reflect the contrasting nature of the music – the pieces by Bach, Handel and Mozart were recorded on a Baroque-style German organ, while the pieces by Beethoven, Bizet, Tchaikovsky and Rossini were recorded on a vast Italian organ of the 1800s, conceived and built like a large orchestra for the performance of the operatic music that held sway in Italy during the 19th century. Other information: * Booklet includes liner notes, artist biographies * Contains details of each of the organs used for the recordings * Recorded in 2009 and 2010


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