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Paul Bowles is better known as a novelist (eg The Sheltering Sky), but in the 1930s and ’40s he worked as a composer, often inspired by Latin and North American vernacular musics. The Invencia Piano Duo have collected his works for one and two pianos onto two Naxos CDs, of which this is the first volume. Many of Bowles’ pieces are extremely brief – his Folk Preludes (1939), for example, are like abstracts of well-known folk tunes – and their fleeting quality leaves you keen to hear more. The outstanding work is the Sonata for Two Pianos (1947), a rare Bowles sortie into modernist severity, especially in the last movement’s implacably pounding rhythms. Kasparov reckons it is ‘amongst the most challenging works ever composed for this medium’; he and Lutsyshyn deliver it with admirable panache.

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