Just as a good reading rather than a performance of a great play can make clearer the work’s inner structure, so can a piano reduction of a symphonic work do the same. Brahms himself prepared piano-for-four-hands versions of his first and fourth symphony, Gershwin left behind like versions of his “Rhapsody in Blue”, and there are countless other examples in which great works can be heard in piano and in full orchestral versions (Some with chamber versions in between).
Having already reported on a wonderful “four hands” recording on the Divine Art label of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, I am delighted to find that on the same label the same artists have given us a generous sampling of this genre in Dvorak: Symphony no. 9 in E minor “From the New World” and Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 3 in A minor “Scottish” (25028). Here we have those composers’ original piano-duet versions of these popular and beautiful works played by Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow. The program notes give fine background information about both works in this piano format. For myself, having heard both of these works in the more familiar orchestral versions very often indeed, I find this recording a breath of fresh air. It is like hearing them both for the first time. Grab a copy for yourself, another for friends, and let me know what you think.