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Geister Duo - Two is Better than One

By Lena Germann |

Our first Qobuzissime of the year is awarded to the magnificent four-hands of David Salmon and Manuel Vieillard, who bring together works by Schumann, Brahms and Dvořák on their latest album.

Two is better than one. What’s better than a pair of hands for playing the piano? Two pairs of hands! Considered more 'intimate' music, the four-handed piano genre has long been confined to inner circles; played in front of friends but rarely in concert. There are of course some famous exceptions (almost always sibling pairings), such as the Labèque sisters, the Walachowski sisters or, among the younger generation, Lucas and Arthur Jussen. It is therefore all the more refreshing to see two ‘independent’ pianists, David Salmon and Manuel Vieillard, making their mark on the world of chamber music by performing piano duo repertoire on the world's biggest stages.

Graduates of the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, Manuel Vieillard and David Salmon are concert performers of the highest level. Between meeting during their studies at the CRR in Paris and the beginning of their international career, a musical symbiosis was born, with the desire to form a "real" duo - not just to meet for concerts. The wish certainly came true: after almost ten years of collaboration, the duo won first prize in the prestigious ARD International Music Competition (Munich). They have now delivered their first album, released on Mirare: Schumann - Brahms - Dvořák, a fine selection of romantic pieces on which the colours of the piano shine through two-fold.

Although the composers chosen are among the most famous of the Romantic era, this album offers up innovative and little-known pieces that have rarely been performed or recorded to date. From the very first of these, Schumann's Images d'Orient (Bilder aus Osten, op. 66), you can clearly feel the complicity and complementarity personalities of the two instrumentalists. The piece carries us away with its changing moods, taking us through all emotions. The romantic and melancholic atmosphere is also wonderfully captured on Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Schumann, Op. 23, in which the composer pays tribute to his colleague and mentor. The album ends with Dvořák's piano cycle from The Bohemian Forest (Ze Šumavy), op. 68, a masterpiece of the four-hand piano repertoire masterfully performed by Salmon and Vieillard, whose unique artistic symbiosis shines through once again. Without a doubt, two is definitely better than one! A beautiful Qobuzissime to start off the new year!

Listen to 'Schumann - Brahms - Dvořák' by the Geister Duo NOW on Qobuz!