4handsla: Paris 1913 (2013)

To commemorate the centenary of the scandalous May 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Los Angeles-based piano duo 4handsLA released a new recording of the composer’s original piano four-hands version of the seminal 20th century masterpiece. The recording was made on a Rubenstein

R-371, a unique 12-foot concert grand piano hand-made in Los Angeles by David Rubenstein (and one of the largest pianos in the world).

Stravinsky composed much of The Rite of Spring at a muted upright piano, and throughout 1912-13 as the piece was coming to life, Stravinsky himself often performed solo or duo versions of the piece for friends and colleagues. Performing the four-hand version of The Rite is a visceral, at times nearly acrobatic feat, and the pianists of 4handsLA are well-known for both the sensitivity and power of their dynamic live performances.

Contemporaneous works by other prominent composers from Paris–Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, and Francis Poulenc–round out the album. The duo’s recording of Satie’s Parade is noteworthy for the inclusion of several movements that were lost for almost a century, and for the duo’s fastidious attention to the composer’s metronome markings–an often-overlooked detail that brings out Satie’s absurdist and ironic musical sense of humor.