David Nettle and Richard Markham (7 October)

NettleMarkhamCelebrating forty years as one of today’s foremost piano duos, David’s and Richard’s studies began in earnest at London’s Royal Academy and Royal College of Music, where a fascination with music for two pianos and four hands at one piano led to their combining burgeoning solo careers with this rich area of the repertoire, one which they have extended with many commissions and arrangements of their own. The first of these was Scenes from West Side Story, in the duo’s own transcription for two pianos, created for the Berlin Festival and written as part of Leonard Bernstein’s 70th birthday celebrations in 1988. Their recording was presented to a highly delighted composer himself. Since then their discography has ranged from Holst’s original two-piano version of The Planets and Stravinsky’s own four-hand transcription of The Rite of Spring and Petrushka to the complete two-piano works of Brahms. Forthcoming recordings include the complete four-handed works of Schumann and Saint-Saëns. Their concert career has taken them to over 35 countries, in duo repertoire with and without orchestra, as well as with chorus in Orff’s own two-piano-and-percussion version of Carmina Burana and their four-hand arrangement of Brahms’s two-piano version of his German Requiem.
Although David and Richard are Steinway artists, they own one of the very few Pleyel double pianos still in existence. This unusual invention, built in 1928, consists of two separate piano frames and actions incorporated into one large case almost 3 metres long and boasts possibly the largest soundboard ever imagined. Together with two Steinway pianos, it resides in the duo’s unusual studio – a converted south-west London railway arch – which was featured in a BBC TV documentary .

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