Stephanie McCallum and Erin Helyard have forged stellar international careers as scholars and virtuosi specialising in historically informed performance. They began performing together in 2014 to explore four-handed repertoire for historic keyboard instruments and have already recorded Le Prophète (2016), a collection of works by Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864), Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) and Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) for Dutch label TRPTK.
, their new album,
Four Hands for France: Music for Piano Duet
, is recorded on a piano from the workshop of Sébastien Érard (1752-1831), an ingenious German-born French instrument maker specialising in pianos and harps. His pianos, renowned for their innovations and the forerunners of modern piano mechanisms, were favoured and owned by Beethoven, Chopin, Fauré, Haydn, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Verdi and Ravel, among others. As McCallum explains in her detailed, meticulously researched liner notes:
“Whereas today we are used to hearing pianos with the bass strings laid diagonally over some of the upper strings to...