Paul Reale: CME Presents Piano Celebration, Vol 2
Here’s a portion of what the American composer Paul Reale states in the notes about his works for two pianos and piano four hands: ‘The music on this recording uses the identity confusion concept as a structural and aesthetic device…’ But is anyone really confused while listening to these captivating creations? Yes, you can discern a beloved theme here and familiar soundscape there, but Reale’s affectionate tweaks and twists result in pieces that enchant the ear on their own creative terms.
The eight pieces pay affecting tribute to musicians ranging from the Chieftains and Prokofiev to CPE Bach, Ravi Shankar, Beethoven and, well, on and on. Everything has a sparkling sonic personality, as if Reale had probed the sources closely and extracted as much newly minted material as possible within short time spans.
The work titled simply CPE – for two pianos – is among the most beguiling, its various journeys around the composer’s music venturing into unknown, reminiscent and rousing territories. A similarly inventive score, Serge P, finds two pianos spinning vibrant variations on Prokofiev’s Sonata for two violins, Op 56, while altering the original sufficiently enough to assume its own suave and not at all confused identity.
Equally delightful are the remaining scores, including the Minuet in G Whiz, Little Screamers (replete with faintly recognisable circus music), and Watchman, Tell Us of the Night: Fanfare for two pianos eight hands. The five pianists who alternate and collaborate on Reale’s pieces give handsome performances.