Reviews – Piano Duo
Stravinsky Ballets For Piano Duet (Deux-Elles)
The duo’s ensemble is astonishingly good and the sheer panache of these performers makes this a most satisfying release with a unique feature.
Philip Moore’s own highly effective version of The Firebird is in my view worth the price of this disc alone.
If it weren’t for the sheer complexity of the textures, you could be forgiven for thinking you were hearing one pianist. Their cleanly articulated and vigorous playing provides coloration in abundance.
MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL
I am seriously impressed by this duo.
Ravel La Valse For Piano Duet (Deux-Elles)
SUONARE NEWS, ITALY
The performers are full of hidden poetic humour. They lead us to the heart of Ravel’s “Enchanted Garden” with touching simplicity.
CLASSICAL MUSIC WEB
Balances are expertly projected, and the little touches of nuance and phrasing are a constant delight.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Moore and Crawford-Phillips play Debussy’s Prélude a l’après-midi d’un faune with immense grace and sensitivity. In Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants they are innocent and full of enchantment, and play with such charm as to persuade that this is the most delightful piece ever written for the medium. In Ravel’s Ma mere l’Oye, childlike simplicity and technical sophistication go hand in hand.
In Ravel’s fascinating transcription of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune they articulate the evanescent orchestral substance of the original with analytical precision, while retaining a magical limpidity and flow.
Inquisitive joy shaped a lunchtime concert by the piano duo Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore. After Ravel’s arrangement of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, at once stark and languorous, they brought gleam and definition to Mozart’s Andante with Variations, K501 and Sonata in F major, K497. As a finale they chose Stravinsky’s Firebird, in Moore’s virtuosic arrangement of the suite: fingers, hands and arms locked in a complex ballet of their own.
The Edinburgh Festival audience could hardly have asked for anything more lively, incisive and dramatic. It was a quiet revelation: the duo shaped Adams’ repeating phrases beautifully, characterising his textures vividly and with a sure sense of the piece’s overall shape.
Injecting yet another breath of fresh air into The Queen’s Hall recital series this year, Colin Currie, Sam Walton, Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore brought music for percussion and piano that was a complete revelation. It was brilliantly put together. Bartok’s Sonata was totally mesmerising in a sensationally synchronised reading that accentuated the pianos’ percussive properties in its angular rhythms.
This was a performance of remarkable refinement.
The conversational sophistication in Mozart’s E flat two-piano concerto is rarely as fully revealed as it was here by Simon Crawford-Phillips and Phillip Moore. Each was consummately fluent in passagework that is far trickier than it sounds, and each hit the happy mean between flexibility and continuity in phrasing, while together they relished the grace and wit of Mozart’s exchanges.
Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore shone with immaculate solo and ensemble playing, sparkling throughout and full of personality.
Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore were closely attuned, with a shared blend of cool intellectualism and poetry. A mesmerising arrangement of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune was played with limpid touch and sensuous beauty; Lutoslawski’s Paganini Variations with wit and bravura.
Such were the wide range of colouring and subtle nuances conjured by Moore and Crawford-Philips, that one could almost declare Debussy’s transcription of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un Faune a worthy alternative to its more illustrious counterpart. The intimate, tuneful Canonic Etudes by Schumann were beautifully brought to life, the pianists’ delicate shading and lightness of touch capturing the contrasting moods delightfully.
There was an abundance of shading and I was especially impressed with the tone colour employed by Moore in the second subject of the first movement of Symphonic Dances; it was warm and fluid, with such an easy feel and restrained use of rubato. A cracking show which was excellent in every way and should not be missed when it is broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
As pianists, Moore and Crawford-Phillips can compete with the best from the UK.
This was a concert worth paying good money for.
Brahms’s F minor Piano Quintet in its two-piano version seemed every inch a masterpiece, strong and finely moulded.
Brahms’ Sonata in F minor was a revelation, with a vivid energy and rich texture which the seamless synergy of these two players drew out to maximum effect.
The finest duo in the market right now, and in a highly competitive field.
Philip Moore’s transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird sprang from their fingers with all the brilliance and vigour of an orchestral performance.
Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore really knew how to amaze with their playing! With light fingers and brilliant technique they created a thoroughly convincing Schubert Andantino, every note full of feeling.
MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Three movements from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite proved a stunning climax to a varied programme. It’s easy to see why this duo is in such demand.
THE BIRMINGHAM POST
They gave Schubert’s F minor Fantasia a sense of numbed desolation which brought it close to the world of its contemporary Winterreise. At the other end of this rewarding evening a driving, physically punishing account of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, well-structured and constantly exciting.
The final stages of this [Promenade] concert were the best: a wittily pointed account, by Philip Moore and Simon Crawford-Phillips, of Stravinsky’s Concerto for two pianos, which almost succeeded in defying the acoustics.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
A bonus in this concert was the piquant, spirited playing of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Pianos by Philip Moore and Simon Crawford-Phillips – a real shot of adrenalin.
Crawford-Phillips and Moore were the 20 fingers of steel.
It was as if all expression were spontaneous. In the absence of the orchestra, the fullest sonorities were explored in a display of technical wizardry at whose conclusion one could only gasp and ask: how did they do that? You missed it? Kick yourself!
They filled the Wigmore Hall with cheering fans. Their Schubert was a thing of beauty. They played the Variations on an Original Theme D813 with skill and variety, his Fantasie in F minor D940 with profound understanding of its angry power, and won an audience chuckle with the subtlety of their touch in Rawsthorne’s The Creel.
A stimulating programme enhanced by their clarity of approach and perceptive readings. Schubert’s F minor Fantasie was infused with intensity. Ravel’s La Valse was a real tour de force with lucidity and momentum. The rumbling bass at the start, the brightly etched waltz theme, and glissandi which erupted with frothy colour in the apotheosic conclusion, were all vividly projected.