Of candlelight and spotlights

Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg frequently examine the tense relationship between original work and arrangement as a result of their formation. On Illumination the acclaimed duo has dedicated a whole programme to arrangements for two pianos, throwing new light on some really great works and highlighting the versatility of Romantic composers.

Performing as a permanent “piano duo” ensemble provides fulfilment and obligation in equal measure: it is a rewarding challenge because the two musicians must always seek the right balance and a suitable combination of skills that they can exhibit at one piano or on two identical instruments. “When we sit at two pianos, we cannot see the other’s hands, and when we sit at the same piano, we cannot see each other’s face – none of that is necessary. We have a sort of body sensitivity that helps us to communicate with one another on a sub-conscious level and to inspire each other.”

It can sometimes be difficult when it is necessary to justify oneself time and again for performing arrangements, simply because the original repertoire for piano duo is limited. The two pianists avoided that problem on Illumination because on this album, they have coupled musical masterpieces that were actually arranged for two pianos by famous composers. Three great works, three great arrangers: Liszt arranged by Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Saint-Saëns by Debussy. “All three versions remained utterly true to their reference points and can therefore be seen as ‘translations’. The coherence of structure within the imaginative narrative of these Romantic works comes as a revelation in the piano versions,” explains Gil Garburg.

However, the fact that these are arrangements is not the driving factor for Silver-Garburg. In fact, they are playing their Liszt, Schumann and Saint-Saëns. They set the focus on the Romantic repertoire: “One of them is a dramatic piece, a huge sonata form uniting all of the movements in a revolutionary manner. Then there is a series of short character pieces which reveal the composer’s inner life while they reflect the Baroque era. The last work is a brilliantly entertaining concert piece that aims to enchant and impress in capriccio style.” Music played by four hands, brought to life by two Israelis living in Berlin.

In 2014 the University of the Arts in Graz created for Silver-Garburg one of the very few professorships for piano duo that exist. The musicians have made their mark as one of the top international ensembles, performing with great orchestras in the top music venues of the world and in solo recitals, from Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center to the Vienna Musikverein, the Sydney Opera House and the Berlin Philharmonie.

“It is easy to make an impression as a piano duo using virtuoso effects. But that alone is not enough,” they say. “We have the impression that we have compiled a sort of cyclical programme: Debussy pays tribute to the older French master Saint-Saëns, who in turn honours his esteemed colleague Liszt, who in his turn dedicated his B minor Sonata to Schumann, whose works are now in the safe hands of Debussy.”

Illumination Silver Garburg Piano Duo

Composer

Camille Saint-Saëns

Franz Liszt

Robert Schumann

Further information

Genre

Klassik

Publication date:

12.04.2019



Of candlelight and spotlights



Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg frequently examine the tense relationship between original work and arrangement as a result of their formation. On Illumination the acclaimed duo has dedicated a whole programme to arrangements for two pianos, throwing new light on some really great works and highlighting the versatility of Romantic composers.



Performing as a permanent "piano duo" ensemble provides fulfilment and obligation in equal measure: it is a rewarding challenge because the two musicians must always seek the right balance and a suitable combination of skills that they can exhibit at one piano or on two identical instruments. "When we sit at two pianos, we cannot see the other's hands, and when we sit at the same piano, we cannot see each other's face – none of that is necessary. We have a sort of body sensitivity that helps us to communicate with one another on a sub-conscious level and to inspire each other."



It can sometimes be difficult when it is necessary to justify oneself time and again for performing arrangements, simply because the original repertoire for piano duo is limited. The two pianists avoided that problem on Illumination because on this album, they have coupled musical masterpieces that were actually arranged for two pianos by famous composers. Three great works, three great arrangers: Liszt arranged by Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Saint-Saëns by Debussy. "All three versions remained utterly true to their reference points and can therefore be seen as 'translations'. The coherence of structure within the imaginative narrative of these Romantic works comes as a revelation in the piano versions," explains Gil Garburg.



However, the fact that these are arrangements is not the driving factor for Silver-Garburg. In fact, they are playing their Liszt, Schumann and Saint-Saëns. They set the focus on the Romantic repertoire: "One of them is a dramatic piece, a huge sonata form uniting all of the movements in a revolutionary manner. Then there is a series of short character pieces which reveal the composer's inner life while they reflect the Baroque era. The last work is a brilliantly entertaining concert piece that aims to enchant and impress in capriccio style." Music played by four hands, brought to life by two Israelis living in Berlin.



In 2014 the University of the Arts in Graz created for Silver-Garburg one of the very few professorships for piano duo that exist. The musicians have made their mark as one of the top international ensembles, performing with great orchestras in the top music venues of the world and in solo recitals, from Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center to the Vienna Musikverein, the Sydney Opera House and the Berlin Philharmonie.



"It is easy to make an impression as a piano duo using virtuoso effects. But that alone is not enough," they say. "We have the impression that we have compiled a sort of cyclical programme: Debussy pays tribute to the older French master Saint-Saëns, who in turn honours his esteemed colleague Liszt, who in his turn dedicated his B minor Sonata to Schumann, whose works are now in the safe hands of Debussy."

More videos from Silver Garburg Piano Duo

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Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Brahms - Movement I Allegro (Music Video)
Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Brahms: IV. Rondo alla Zingarese: Presto (Official Music Video)
Silver Garburg Piano Duo - Brahms (Official Album Trailer)
Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Illumination - Liszt: Sonata B minor for piano
Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Saint-Saëns: Introduction et Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28
Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Illumination (Trailer)
Silver-Garburg Piano Duo - Igor Strawinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (Trailer)
Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56b: Variation II. Vivace
Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56b: Variation III. Con moto

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