Throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th, it was standard practice to publish symphonies, overtures, whole operas, quartets, ballets – almost everything – in piano duet form alongside the full scores. But why take on the challenge of actually giving concert performances of great orchestral works in versions for four hands on one piano? There are several reasons why we do it; if the duet version is a composer-original, as is the case with all the works presented here, it has per se a genuine validity, deserving of our attention; in some cases the duet version actually predates the full orchestral score; the piano version can clarify the denser orchestral textures and rhythms; and it is both a huge challenge to the pianist and huge fun to play, and to watch. The three duet works on this CD all find on the piano a life as valid and intoxicating as they have in the more usual orchestral performances.
York2 has a fine reputation as the 'duo with a difference', gained through John and Fiona's exploration of larger scale and contemporary scores alongside the rich and familiar duet repertoire. They have given concerts for societies and festivals in the UK and Australia, on BBC Radio 3, CBC TV, at the Salzburg Festival, concertos at the Barbican Centre and South Bank in London.