As those who've heard one of the rare recordings of Le Sacre in its composer's four-hand arrangement will attest, what's left is revelatory. Often lost in the orchestral undergrowth are themes, harmonies, and counterpoints that stand out starkly illuminated in the clear, hard light cast by only four hands. In its familiar orchestral incarnation, Le Sacre sounds like life itself burgeoning forth in all its streaming multitudes. In its two-piano incarnation, it sounds like a clockwork mechanism cunningly constructed to simulate life. Whether this is a reduction or a refinement is up to the listener — but there's no doubt that the sound of four hands flailing away at Le Sacre has to be heard to be believed.
[Review published February 2008]