Press: The CD Box                                

09/04/2011

The Art Desk

This is a glossily produced five-disc box with bonus DVD collecting some of the Labèque sisters' recent own-label recordings, in which the quality of the music-making justifies the flash packaging. The Ravel disc includes beguiling versions of the Rhapsodie Espagnole and Ma Mère l'Oye in two-piano and piano duet form, the percussion added to Ravel's transcription of Boléro supplying extra spice. Those peculiar bitonal harmonies have added bite, and the steadiest of crescendos is skillfully managed. A generous collection of Satie miniatures fills another disc, in which the solo piano works are shared between Katia and Marielle. They're wonderfully played..

De Fuego y de Agua, a collection Lorca settings by composers including de Falla, Rodrigo and Granados, is high-quality crossover which comes off beautifully, Mayte Martín's expressive, not-too-polished voice blending impeccably with the piano accompaniments. Best of all is the Stravinsky and Debussy disc – a rare chance to enjoy Stravinsky's witty 1935 Concerto for Two Pianos, written for the composer to play with his son. In amongst the spikier miniatures (including a two-piano arrangement of the wonderful 1940 Tango) the Labèques give us a nicely brooding account of Debussy's En blanc et noir.

Written by Graham Rickson, TheArtsDesk.com, 9 April 2011