We’re pleased to announce the release of ‘Tournament for Twenty Fingers’, a collection of piano duets performed by Julian Perkins and Emma Abbate. The recording takes its name from the featured Dodgson work, a delightful playful suite of pieces including ‘Cradle Song’, ‘Hill Billy’ and ‘a Bohemian Entertainment’. Dodgson’s Sonata for piano duet also appears on the collection, alongside works by Lennox Berkeley, Richard Arnell and Constant Lambert.
‘Initially enjoying popularity first in Germany-speaking lands and then in France, the genre of the piano duet (four hands, one piano) went on to blossom in England during the 20th century. On this album Emma Abbate and Julian Perkins present the complete works for piano duet by each of the composers selected. Palm Court Waltz, the Sonatina and Theme and Variations from Lennox Berkeley display Gallic traits, the consequence no doubt of his studies in France and his keen interest in the music of Satie, Ravel and Poulenc. While showing an evolution in the composer’s approach to tonality, every hint of seriousness is constantly balanced by elegant playfulness and diaphanous textures.
Richard Arnell and Stephen Dodgson contribute to the general atmosphere with their unabashedly tonal music that shows the neoclassical influence of Hindemith, Prokofiev and Stravinsky. Dodgson’s suite Tournament for Twenty Fingers, which gives its title to this disc, is especially full of fun while ending with a homage to the Czech composers Dvořák and Janáček. An outstanding talent, Constant Lambert held jazz in high esteem and his Trois Pièces – written to be played entirely on the piano’s white keys – form a high-spirited and heartfelt tribute to its rhythmical vitality and inventiveness.’