A. Bruckner / G. Mahler, Symphony No. 3 transcr. Piano Duo,
Trenkner / Speidel
How does it sound, though? Well… as long as you know and think of it to be a perversion, it’s actually quite good. Unlike Bruckner on the organ, the result is not the stunning resemblance that Lionel Rogg achieves with his transcription of Bruckner’s 8th but instead a homespun mimicry that starts out as slightly New Age Bruckner and then goes in its very own directions from there. To the non-purists, though, it might be downright exciting. Obviously it’s a disc for someone who already has too much of most things – but it is not nearly as desperate a novelty as many other CDs. If you have heard the piano duo transcriptions of Mahler’s symphonies you can go from there and imagine the result improved by a wide margin. Two pianos are not able to conjure Echt-Bruckner – but they come a lot closer to his symphony than they do to any of Mahler’s.
The performer, Evelinde Trenkner (here with Sontraud Speidel) has made it her specialty to perform such arrangements: apart from aforementioned Mahler (with Mrs. Zenker – MDG 330 0837) I’ve also gotten a kick out of her performance of the Reger transcription of the Bach Orchestral Suites and Passacaglia (with Mrs. Speidel again – MDG 330 1006). Ultimately these works are a lot more fun to play than listen to, but short of having the requisite skills and a similarly inclined and skilled accomplice, these might put a smile and more on your face. I, for one, have listened to it well over a dozen times in the last few weeks and show no sign of tiring of it yet.