Bartók: Sonata for two piano and percussion; Hindson: Pulse Magnet: Ravel: Boléro

Reviewed on Thu 28 Jan, 2016

Bartók’s Sonata is the defining work for this combination, and forms the core of the programme. The playing is engaged and involving, with excellent interplay between pianos and percussion.

A varied programme here of works for piano duo and percussion. Ravel’s Boléro risks monotony without its orchestral colours, but this arrangement, by the composer himself, substitutes effectively with constantly changing octave doublings and accompanying textures. Bartók’s Sonata is the defining work for this combination, and forms the core of the programme. The playing is engaged and involving, with excellent interplay between pianos and percussion. Pulse Magnet, by Australian composer Matthew Hindson, is an eclectic and lively work, full of humour and bubbling with energy. Textures are minimalistic, yet there is little sense of strictness or process: the aesthetic is closer to jazz. Excellent performances and good sound. The piano tone is dry, but this benefits the clarity, and suits the mood of the Bartók. The reduced instrumentation does little to benefit Ravel’s masterpiece, but between Bartók and Hindson we really hear the benefits of bringing together such an eclectic ensemble.
–Gavin Dixon