Ballet Suites For Piano Duo by Mari & Momo Kodama released in 2016 on Pentatone Records. This hybrid SACD by pianists Mari Kodama and Momo Kodama offers transcriptions for piano duo by Sergey Rachmaninov, Anton Arensky, Eduard Leontyevich Langer, and Claude Debussy, which capture the brilliance and beauty of the original versions. One is struck by the faithfulness of the arrangers, who eschewed pyrotechnics in favor of accurately re-creating Tchaikovsky’s music, and the keyboard versions often bring the orchestral sonorities and textures to mind.

The playing by the Kodama sisters is meticulous and finely polished, but their liveliness and virtuosity bring the music across with considerable excitement and a feeling of pure enjoyment. Composers such as Arensky, Debussy and Rachmaninov made arrangements of these works for piano, not mere reductions but wholesale realisations of the works, combining subtlety and insight with their own technical polish.

The sisters Mari and Momo Kodama both pursue busy international careers. Momo specialises in French and Japanese composers and 20th century and contemporary composers; she has been widely praised for her ‘attractive, lyrical tone’ and ‘technical brilliance’. Mari has established an international reputation for profound musicality and articulate virtuosity; she has recorded extensively for PENATONE, including an acclaimed cycle of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas.

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