Four Hands at Home: Domestic Music-Making in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Playing piano four-hands was both vital in the dissemination of music in the nineteenth century and also a popular domestic activity. The original 1853 Parisian Erard piano on which this recording was made demonstrates the clarity, warmth and differentiated timbres characteristic of the ‘straight stringing’ that was later replaced by the ‘cross-stringing’ of the modern concert grand. The repertoire from the period covers the many genres of four-hand piano works in their varied roles as domestic ‘info-entertainment’: orchestral works large and small, serious sonatas and variations, showpieces for emerging virtuosi and even a string quartet are all equally engaging in this once-familiar medium.

Stephanie McCallum (primo) and Erin Helyard (secondo), 1853 Érard Piano

Ignaz Moscheles

  1. La belle union: Rondeau brillant précédé d’un Introduction, Op. 76 (c. 1828)* (13:20)

Richard Wagner
Lohengrin (trans. anon)

  1. Vorspiel* (7:47)

Felix Mendelssohn
Andante and Variations, Op. 83a (1841, rev 1844) (13:31)

  1. Andante tranquillo (1:07)
  2. Var. 1: Cantabile (1:02)
  3. Var. 2: Animato (1:06)
  4. Var. 3 (0:59)
  5. Var. 4 (0:49)
  6. Var. 5 (0:47)
  7. Var. 6 (1:06)
  8. Var. 7 (0:55)
  9. Var. 8: Allegro molto agitato (5:40)

Charles Edward Horsley
Three Chamber Duets, Op. 46 (1857)* (11:11)

  1. No. 1, Andante maestoso (3:47)
  2. No. 2, Allegretto scherzando (2:41)
  3. No. 3, Adagio. Allegro agitato (4:43)

Alexandre-Pierre-François Boëly
String Quartet No. 3 in G Major, Op. 31 (c. 1824-27) (23:57)

  1. I. Allegro ma non troppo (9:36)
  2. II. Adagio (6:05)
  3. III. Scherzo. Allegro (2:39)
  4. IV. Rondo. Allegro (5:37)

Augusta Holmès

  1. Pologne: Poème symphonique (1883)* (12:03)

*First Recordings

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