How poor the piano literature for four hands would be without Schubert! This musical form is indebted to him for its most significant enrichment — ranging from the popular marches to works of virtually symphonic size. The roots of the genre sprang from different soils. Schubert's musical invention was so prolific that often the two hands of a pianist proved to be insufficient, and thus the performance of complicated counterpoint, the countless subsidiary themes and delicate harmonic details demanded two pianists and four hands, resembling the four parts of a string quartet.
Sonja and Shanti Sungkono hail from Jakarta by way of Germany. The 20th Century Piano Duets Collection is their second release for New Classical Adventure. Most of this repertoire is fairly standard stuff for piano duo. Although Colin McPhee's once obscure Balinese Ceremonial Music is gaining ground in the central literature and Raimo Kangro's much later music probably belongs there, the proof here is in the playing, rather than in the pudding or any other factor one might consider. The Sungkonos' Bartók is especially dynamic and engaging, but the whole disc is bursting with enthusiasm and energy from the wild thrill ride that is Kangro's Klimper Op. 20/4 all the way to their dazzling and urgent realization of Danses Andalouses of Manuel Infante.