Parlour Pieces, Vol. 2
''Parlour Pieces'', yes; that is, in the days when parlours had not only pianos but a very decent likelihood of people about who enjoyed playing them, either solo or in duet. Things have changed; among them, in this particular parlour, the quality (it is safe to say!) of the duet-playing. Here this is expert and musicianly in the highest degree: if Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn played duets together at home (and I expect they did) it must have sounded something like this.
The Daguls' relationship is however not that of brother and sister, but husband and wife (and on occasion son, Guy Dagul, though he does not play on the present record). In their hands all the music springs to life: and where the original layout of the music allows it (in the Schubert, say, or in the Ladmirault) a splendid case is made for the medium as one for concert use, in addition to its great possibilites for enjoyment at home. The original layout of the music does, as always, however, vary: too many composers (as well as far too many arrangers) too often get too thick in the middle, the relentless simultaneous employment of all four available hands seeming to take priority over the actual sonic requirements of the music (Dvorak is an offender here).
Among the music offered, a good deal will likely be unfamiliar, yet often of considerable charm. The Schmitt is (the tune of his Home, sweet home variations is not the one you are thinking of); the Ladmirault is; the Constant Lambert is, with livelier music (often with something approaching a Charleston beat) than you would expect from his on the face of it not very relevant title of Nocturne.
Recorded quality is good; the notes on the music (printed in the right order!) are informative. But, above all, here is the very best in piano duet-playing.'