As long ago as the eighteenth century, composers were arranging orchestral works for two pianos or for piano duet, making them more domestically accessible and exposing their compositions to a wider audience. Four-hand piano versions abound of symphonies by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Haydn and more.
Since Rachmaninoff focused mainly on the piano, we were surprised to be unable to find a two-piano arrangement by the composer himself of his Symphony No. 2, particularly since he arranged his own first and third symphonies for four hands. Such was the popularity of the Second Symphony that Vladimir Wilschau (1868-1957) created a four hands arrangement in 1910, just two years after the premiere in St Petersburg under the composer’s baton.
Our objective in creating this new arrangement was to remain as faithful to the original as practically possible. We set out to embrace not only the capabilities of the two pianos but also their limitations – we wanted to create a true piano work, rather than a less-than-satisfactory imitation of the orchestral version. Of course, our motivation was also to be able to enjoy playing this magnificent masterpiece which we had cherished for as long as we could remember!
© Simon Callaghan & Hiroaki Takenouchi 2022
Heralded by The Times as “just the sort of champion the newest of new music needs”, while being praised as “impeccable in his pianism and unfailing in his idiomatic grasp” by Gramophone, Takenouchi’s curiosity and a natural penchant for integrity makes his playing and vast repertoire unique amongst his generation of pianists. Hiroaki Takenouchi is a Blüthner Artist and owns a beautiful 1922 Blüthner piano. Takenouchi teaches piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow)
“Clearly a musician of curiosity and discernment, Callaghan’s robust piano-playing is also thoughtful, subtle and refined.” Gramophone. Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, in parallel with his highly successful career as a recording artist. Callaghan’s repertoire includes over fifty concertos, highlights of the standard solo and chamber works of the 19th and 20th centuries, and much that is rare and unexplored, one cornerstone of his work is his commitment to British music.