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Here’s an opportunistic release: Grainger’s two-piano scores are thinly represented on CD, with most of the classic performances by Penelope Thwaites/John Lavender (Pearl) and Leslie Howard/David Stanhope (EMI) currently unobtainable.

Grainger was an inveterate arranger, of course, and most titles here will be familiar from other versions. The Porgy and Bess Fantasy accounts for 20 minutes; the next biggest work is Lincolnshire Posy, a classic of the wind band repertoire. I missed the Children’s March Over the Hills and Far Away, a joyous seven-minute romp – but maybe it didn’t qualify as ‘folk-inspired’.

The German-based Bilder Duo was new to me: I wonder if Grainger was new to them. Interpretations are wildly at odds with traditional performance, and with Grainger’s oft-quoted wish to portray the ‘sheer ongoingness of the dance’. Speeds are often sluggish, and the duo frequently slow down even more in the interests of ‘artistic’ point-making – Molly on the Shore twice comes almost to a dead stop (Molly on the Floor, more like).

In the fifth movement of Lincolnshire Posy, the players don’t differentiate between ‘free’ and ‘strict time’ sections, and its other movements are disfigured by misprints. Many of these, to be fair, are noted only in Leslie Howard’s editorial preface for Schott’s latest edition. The Gershwin is a passable listen, but still indulges in self-aware slowings-down. Not recommended, I’m sorry to say.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing