Joseph and Waka have recently co-commissioned a new work for piano duet from the British composer David Matthews
with the Cheltenham Music Festival. This exciting new commission is a substantial set of Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Op. 144 which Piano 4 Hands is thrilled to be premiering at Cheltenham Town Hall on 8th July. The duo is also planning to
give the London Première of the New Work next season, the date and venue yet to be confirmed.
This project has been several years in the planning and has been possible thanks to generous funding from the
John S Cohen Foundation, the RVW Trust, the Radcliffe Trust and the Cheltenham Music Festival.
Some of the highlights of last year were the Bristol International Piano Duo Festival
which took place in the beautiful acoustics of St George’s Bristol and the nearby
Victoria Rooms in late-October, as well as a concert at the National Gallery in London
a few weeks later which was part of a series held in memory of Dame Myra Hess.
Now we are well into January and looking forward to our first concert of 2017!
It’s always a real pleasure to perform for the Schubert Society of Britain at the
Lancaster Hall close to Lancaster Gate in West London. Since 2005 we have been
invited to give a Sunday afternoon Schubertiade concert for the Society every other year
and on 22nd January we’ll be performing duets by Mozart, Schumann, Schubert and Bizet.
Admission is free and the concert starts at 3pm, at the Lancaster Hall Hotel,
35 Craven Terrace London W2.
We’re excited to be playing at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon
again on Friday, following our performance there on Rachmaninov’s piano in 2011.
It’s a breathtaking combination of three ballet arrangements for 2 pianos –
Prokofiev’s Cinderella Op. 87 (arr. Pletnev), Two Scenes from Edward II
by the late John McCabe and Stravinsky’s original two pianos version of his
1913 masterpiece, The Rite of Spring.
Yes, there will be lots of highly-energised, percussive pianism (most memorably in The Rite)
but don’t be fooled into thinking that the entire programme will be harsh and discordant –
Prokofiev’s ballet is bursting with wonderful melodies, as is the ‘French Court’ opening scene
of McCabe’s masterful arrangement. So prepare to be surprised – and for a heady mix of
dance and late-flowering romanticism!
We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of John McCabe on
13th February following a long illness.
It was a great privilege to work with John on two new commissions
and also a CD recording of his piano music over the past few
years. As well as being one of Britain’s most celebrated composer
pianists, John was a truly wonderful man, always encouraging
of the younger generation of musicians, incredibly modest about
his own achievements and generous with his time and advice.
He was a great inspiration to us both personally, in equal measure as
a composer, concert pianist and phenomenal all-round musician.
A Memorial Concert for John McCabe is being held by the
Park Lane Group in London on 12th June.