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Dip Your Ears, No. 241 (Twenty Fingers for Beethoven’s 7th)

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L.v.Beethoven, Symphony No.7
(trans. Scharwenka), Great Fugue op.134
Piano Duo Trenkner & Speidel

The Trenkner-Speidel Duo makes the transcribed-for-two-piano repertoire worthwhile listening. Starting with their delightful Brandenburg Concertos (Max Reger’s adaptation) via Mahler Symphonies (Bruno Walter’s transcription), they have now turned to Beethoven: Scharwenka’s take on the Seventh and the Great Fugue in its op.134 version. Several piano duos had a go at Beethoven’s own transcription of Die Grosse Fuge, partly fuelled by the manuscript’s discovery in early 2006 in Philadelphia [link goes to Alex Ross' piece on that]. Of those that I have heard, Trenkner & Speidel make me least seek out the original string quartet version. Often it’s even easier to follow the intricacies of the fugue on the Duo’s 1901 Steinway. Mediocre translations of the booklet are the only fly in the ointment.

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