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Four-hands repertory (Read 28739 times)

Offline bernhard

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Four-hands repertory
« on: March 02, 2004, 01:06:51 AM »
Pianista asked me this question in another thread:

”Do you have any idea to recommend a few interesting pieces for four-hands repertoire ? ex. to a 9 years old boy (played piano for 1/2 years ago).”

This is a very good question , so I am starting this new thread here.

I love playing duets. I believe to be one of the most efficient ways to develop musicality.

So, what sort of four hand repertory do you play? Or that you would recommend as excellent repertory material (an indication of the degree of difficulty would be helpful).[There is so much of this stuff!]

Here are a few of my favourites:

For the total beginners:

Diabelli – Op. 149 – 28 highly melodic, short pieces with the bass (secondo) part slightly more difficult than the treble (primo) part. An intermediate student should be able to cope easily with the secondo part. Both hands in the primo part play the same notes (one octave apart) and are restricted to five finger positions. “Scherzo” (no. 6) sounds terrific, and very impressive. Also excellent material for sight-reading in the initial stages.

Diabelli has also other material worth a look. Check out his Op. 163 (6 sonatinas in three movements on five notes) and a bit more advanced his sonatinas op. 24, 54, 58, and 60. For intermediate students check his sonatas op. 32, 33, 37, 38 and 73.

Joseph Low – Teacher and Pupil – Another set of 65 mleodic pieces with the primo part easier than the second. It is arranged in order of difficulty going form very easy to intermediate. Again excellent material for sight reading.

For intermediate students:

Bizet – Jeux d’Enfants – Op. 22  - This is my top favourite  12 beautiful pieces. The parts are not that difficult, the main difficulty is putting it all together. Great learning pieces! (It will teach you the art of playing together) I particularly love “Petit Marie, Petit femme” and “ La topie”. Also very impressive on performance (it looks and sounds much more difficult than it actually is).

Brahms – Waltzes Op. 39. Beautiful waltzes, originally written for piano four hands, but later Brahms made one piano versions of them. Also his Hungarian Dances (again originally written for piano duet).

Andre Caplet – “Un tas de petite choses”. This is a most interesting collection of pieces. The primo part is very easy, and all in the white keys. The second part however, explores all keys. Very clever writing and modern sound.

Debussy – Petit Suite. There is more stuff by Debussy, but I like this suite the best.

Fauré – Dolly suite – Six pieces, the primo easier than the secondo.

Advanced:


Alkan – Trois Marches, Op. 40 – Yes, Alkan wrote some duet stuff! As you can imagine it is not beginners material. But sinc the work is shared by four hands it s pretty manageable.

PDQ Bach (Peter Schikelle) – The civilian barber. This is very funny and effective – but difficult. If you have never heard of PDQ Bach, have a look here:

http://www.schickele.com/

Richard Rodney Bennett – Capriccio – This is a difficult twelve tone piece using all the notes of the keyboard. If you are into modern music this is it!

Mendelssohn – Allegro Brilliant, op. 92. Very difficult. Only for your most advanced students.

Satie – Trois Morceaux en forme de Poire. (there is more stuff by Satie. This is the one I like the best).

Besides all that Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven and Schubert all wrote quite a lot of our hand works (especially Schubert). I am not crazy about it, although Schubert’s “Military March” is great fun.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline rachlisztchopin

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #1 on: March 02, 2004, 01:24:07 AM »
piano concertos with orch. reduction for two pianos, four hands are always fun too :)

Offline kerry

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #2 on: March 02, 2004, 02:54:57 AM »
Thank you very much Bernhard. I love playing duets with my students and  present a lot for  concerts etc.
I will be looking for  some of these pieces today. I think it makes a student work harder  when they have to perform with someone else.  
I have been teaching in Western Australia for 25 years and  have read how you teach.  I am so impressed with your methods and your knowledge.
How about trios? I have a great version of  mary had a little lamb   and a few books but hope you could suggest something. I have two little twins and a best friend!  Thanks again for all your help. I  find Piano Forum addictive.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #3 on: March 02, 2004, 07:40:12 PM »
Here is a question for another thread that I think should be in here:

Quote
Hi, I'm looking for a four-hands piano piece for a recital in a couple of months.  I have no idea about four-hands music and my teacher asked me to look for something that isn't "classical".  I'm thinking it should be a funny peice or something different and maybe a 20th century peice.

Composers who would fit this bill that I've considered are: Rachmaninov, Gershwin, the transcendental virtuosisity of John Cage's 4'33" 4-hand arrangement,... but don't know of anything or whether they composed for 4-hands.


Besides the ones already mentioned, these are all advanced duets (four hands/1 piano)

Balakirev – Suite

Barber – Souvenirs, Op. 28 (Modern, very difficult piece)

Beethoven – Grosse fugue op. 134 (Very difficult)

Brahms – Variations on a theme of Schumann, Op. 23

Richard Felciano – Gravities (Modern work, very difficult – atonal and at times even the arms play. This is experimental music, almost impossible to read the score. Can’t get more modern than that. Personally I hate the stuff >:(, but maybe that’s your kind of thing).

Grieg – Norwegian dances op. 35, Waltz Caprices op. 37 and Symphonic dances op. 64 (Not too difficult, and as with everything from Grieg they are beautiful and great fun to play).

Heiden – Sonata for four hands (Modern work written in the style of Hindemith).

Hindemith – Sonata for four hands (Modern work written in the style of Heiden he he he ;D)

MacDowell – Lunar pictures, and also Three Poems op. 20

Moskowski – Torch dance (“Fackeltanz”)

Persichetti –Concerto for piano, four hands (Interesting piece in that although it is a concert, it is only for the piano, without orchestra – Very difficult work).

Rachmaninoff – Italian Polka (difficult) but also the easier Six pieces op. 11

Schumann – Ball Scenes op. 109 – Kinderball op. 130 – Pictures form the East op. 66 and 12 piano pieces op. 85 (none of them are too difficult).

Stravinksy – there is a version of Petrouchka for piano four hands.

This should get you started.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline ravel

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #4 on: March 02, 2004, 07:52:42 PM »
u forgot, ravels, ma mere le oye,
thats
and there are four hand versions of his la valse and rhapsodie espaniol,
four hand versions of debussy s prelude to after noon of a faun,
poulenc sonata for two pianos .
i think  3 movements from petrouchka, four hands version would be one of the most interesting pieces i could suggest.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #5 on: March 03, 2004, 12:55:37 AM »
Quote
How about trios? I have a great version of  mary had a little lamb   and a few books but hope you could suggest something. I have two little twins and a best friend!  Thanks again for all your help. I  find Piano Forum addictive.


Yes, six hands piano!

Unfortunately I haven't come accross much of those. I would be interested in hearing suggestions as well.

Here are the only ones I know:

Laura Shur - Tunes for three (for six hands , one piano) - Five extrememly easy pieces for beginners. This is clearly pedagogical material. All parts similar difficulty. I cannot say I am too impressed. (Sorry, Laura :()

Much better is:

Giovanni Piazza - 10 easy pieces for piano six hands ("Drei Mal zwei - Tre per due" - Schott). The first piece is a nice arrangement of twinkle twinkle little star. It then progresses through several different music styles (minimalist music, jazz, rock, but mixed up with calssical styles: for intance there is a "blues"-fughe, the rock is a rock-passacaglia, and so on) For beginners but interesting.

And finally a collection (organized by Franzpeter Goebels) hands in three volumes: "Klavierspiel zu drift". (Schott) Most of the pieces are originally solo piano pieces (from the likes of Mendelssohn, Bach, etc.) arranged for six hands.

Best wishes,
Bernhard



The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #6 on: March 03, 2004, 11:08:36 AM »
Thank you , Bernhard, for you reply to my question.

You gave a lot of options.  Now can you tell me where I can go to hear these compositions?  A well-stocked library would include audio media, right?

Or, since you are much more familiar with those works, can you just pick one or two to shoot me in the direction?

Edit:  I'm looking for something that isn't too long, maybe not more than 7minutes in legth and has a 'joke' sound... maybe Peter Schinkele would fit that bill...?

Offline pianista

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #7 on: March 03, 2004, 11:45:42 AM »
Thanks for the proposals of the differents repertoire and Alkan composed for 4-hands-that's interesting!
Yeah-I love playing 4-hands too  :D
For more advanced-do not forget Schubert Fantasie (it is wonderful)and Mozart D-major and transciption from orchestra symphonies by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, you name it... Actually I am looking for a partner who are willing to play 4-hands repertoire for concerts etc. hmmm,  I have not find one yet...  :-/  

Offline anda

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #8 on: March 03, 2004, 04:26:47 PM »
thanks for the ideas - i was looking for some new works - you forgot lutoskawski - paganini variations, rachmaninov - six morceaux (originally written for four hands), brahms - liebeslieder waltzer, schumann - pictures from the east, there is a  version for four hands on gerswin's rhapsody in blue, also there are transcriptions for tchaciaturian - the valse in masquerade and glika - valse, spanish ouverture.

your suggestions are interesting - but where do i get these? i'm interested especially in satie, bizet, barber, strawinski

Offline bernhard

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #9 on: March 04, 2004, 03:27:00 AM »
Quote
thanks for the ideas - i was looking for some new works - you forgot lutoskawski - paganini variations, rachmaninov - six morceaux (originally written for four hands), brahms - liebeslieder waltzer, schumann - pictures from the east, there is a  version for four hands on gerswin's rhapsody in blue, also there are transcriptions for tchaciaturian - the valse in masquerade and glika - valse, spanish ouverture.

your suggestions are interesting - but where do i get these? i'm interested especially in satie, bizet, barber, strawinski


Yes, I have not forgotten, I just posted a small selection. The full repertory for four hands would probably fill a book, and my posts are already getting way out of hand as far as length is concerned :(

(And I mentioned Rach's six morceaux... ::))

Anyway, here are the publishers (there may be others, these are the ones in my copies):

Satie - Salabert
Bizet - International
Barber - Schirmer
Stravinsky - Boosey & Hawkes.

Best wishes
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #10 on: March 04, 2004, 03:57:13 AM »
Quote
Thank you , Bernhard, for you reply to my question.

You gave a lot of options.  Now can you tell me where I can go to hear these compositions?  A well-stocked library would include audio media, right?




Katia and Marielle Labeque recorded some of it. Have a look here:

http://www.lyrics-discography-mp3.com/discography/katia__apz__marielle_labeque-cds.html

Good luck,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline dj

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #11 on: March 04, 2004, 06:43:58 AM »
Code: [Select]
Rachmaninoff – Italian Polka (difficult) but also the easier Six pieces op. 11

does anyone know where you could find free sheet music for the Op. 11 ones?
rach on!

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #12 on: March 08, 2004, 10:22:10 AM »
Darn.  My teacher handed me Chopin's Polonaise in A 4-hand to play...  I don't like Chopin very much.

The way I look at 4-hand peices is this:
If it was meant to be played solo, then play it solo.  It shouldn't be arranged for 4-hands just because it can be.  If there isn't anything in the peice that can be brought out by having 4-hands, then it shouldn't be arranged that way - it's just for show to have two people playing rather than one.

The first two or so measures of Chopain's Polonaise, the treble, can be played with just the right hand even though it's written for two hands.   :P

I'm thinking that I should request the bass notes from my teacher just so I know what's being played when I have extended rests.  Is this a good idea?

I also don't know whom I'll be playing this peice with.  Maybe that person likes Chopin?  Is this motivation enough for me to try to play this peice?  I don't like Chopin very much, especially this piece!  When she handed me the sheet music and I saw what peice it was, my dampers slowly lowered and muted my strings. (How's that for a metaphor?)

Chopin's Polonaise in A just doesn't strike my strings in a harmonic fashion.  Can anyone say anything to make me like this piece...? :'(

Offline bernhard

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #13 on: March 08, 2004, 05:14:21 PM »
Quote
The way I look at 4-hand peices is this:  
If it was meant to be played solo, then play it solo.  It shouldn't be arranged for 4-hands just because it can be.  If there isn't anything in the peice that can be brought out by having 4-hands, then it shouldn't be arranged that way - it's just for show to have two people playing rather than one.


I completely agree. I dislike all sorts or arrangements and transcriptions whose only purpose is to make the music easier to play. However there are some exceptions and some justifications.

1.      In the past when CDs were not available the only way to hear orchestral music in the home was through transcriptions or four-hand arrangements. Some of these transcriptions (e.g. Liszt’s) are so good that they should be an exception (they are also d**n difficult).
2.      Sometimes the composer himself will make the transcription/arrangement. This is fine by me. In fact many times the piece was originally written for piano solo and then arranged for orchestra (e.g. Grieg’s Holberg suite), or originally for piano 4-hands and then for piano solo (e.g. Brahms’ Waltzes and Hungarian dances).
3.      In Victorian time it was the only way you could get really close to your date (therefore all the Schubert’s four hand pieces).

I doubt if the Polonaise arrangement for four hands fits any of these categories. So why don’t you ask your teacher for original four-hand music (there are enough suggestions already in this thread of worthwhile pieces).


Quote
I'm thinking that I should request the bass notes from my teacher just so I know what's being played when I have extended rests.  Is this a good idea?


Yes, this is a must. The best scores for four-hand music will have both parts on top of each other, instead of on adjacent pages. Both performers should see exactly what the other is doing at the same time. In fact, if the original score is not written in this fashion, I will rewrite it.

You should also be able to play both parts, not only your part.

Quote
I also don't know whom I'll be playing this peice with.  Maybe that person likes Chopin?  Is this motivation enough for me to try to play this peice?


Ask yourself instead: Is she pretty? (how is that for motivation?)

Quote
Chopin's Polonaise in A just doesn't strike my strings in a harmonic fashion.  Can anyone say anything to make me like this piece...?


It is a call to arms. Chopin was incensed with the invasion of Poland by the Russians. You can hear the rolling of drums and so on. Pretend you are a patriotic Pole forced into exile. It may help. ;D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.


The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Clare

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #14 on: March 09, 2004, 08:49:41 AM »
I'm doing some duets for an exam too and I just used this rather handy thread for ideas on what to play. As well as Hungarian Dance No. 5, I've picked La Poupee from Jeux d’Enfants by Bizet. Nothing too hard, but nice.

Offline dgk88

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #15 on: March 09, 2004, 01:01:09 PM »
Gershwin-Cuban Overture or I've got Rhythm variations for Piano and Orchestra are interesting duets, I've done both of them and they are a lot of fun.

Offline erik-

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #16 on: March 11, 2004, 04:24:44 PM »
I love Mozart's D-Major  K.448.
Argerich recorded it with Alexandre Rabinovich. There is also a DVD where she plays it with nicolas economou.

I also love Mozart's Andante With 5 Variations, K501.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #17 on: March 14, 2004, 01:40:32 AM »
"Ask yourself instead: Is she pretty? (how is that for motivation?) "

That's great motivation!  Unless I'm disappointed when I meet her... :-/  Then what motivation will I have?



"Quote:Chopin's Polonaise in A just doesn't strike my strings in a harmonic fashion.  Can anyone say anything to make me like this piece...?  

It is a call to arms. Chopin was incensed with the invasion of Poland by the Russians. You can hear the rolling of drums and so on. Pretend you are a patriotic Pole forced into exile. It may help.  "

I still don't like this piece.  But somehow, I think that a snare drum (I think it's called a snare drum) should be played to accompany this piece in the background throughout it.  Another thing about this piece is the repetitions, especially in the middle section: it sounds redundant and doesn't add any extra flare to the peice except make it longer.  The repetitions throughout it make it sound boring - Chopin didn't have new ideas on how to make it better except to instruct us to repeat, repeat, and then repeat again.  No coda, just repeat.  Repeat.  Then end with a repeat.  Just repeat.  Repeat.  This piece is pissing me off!

In other words, I hope she's pretty.    ;)

Offline johnreef

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #18 on: March 14, 2004, 03:34:54 AM »
Anyone played Manuel Infante's "Danses Andalouses" for 2 pianos? That's a fun one.

Offline anda

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #19 on: March 15, 2004, 06:28:35 PM »
i need liszt - hungarian rhapsodies (especially no. 2 and no. 6) arranged for 4 hands. anyone?

Offline scriabinsmyman

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #20 on: March 16, 2004, 03:16:57 PM »
I don't know of any beginner-level four-hands pieces, but I had a blast playing Rachmaninoff's Suite...I also played Debussy's Petite Suite when I was younger...En Bateau was my favorite!

Offline ptmidwest

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #21 on: May 05, 2005, 01:49:56 AM »
Some of my beginning students get a kick out of learning a part by rote, and then playing their "part" along with me. 

For example, Bach's Musette in D is great;  they learn those d's in the bass (often with two hands), and their ear learns the little R.H. motif that I play.  They also learn to "wait out" the next two measures until their d's start again.  Good ear training!  It is never very long before they want to take a try at the motif with their R.H., and of course the d octaves with left hand alone. 

The next lesson, I show them the D Major pentachord, and they "copy" whatever pattern I play.  Some kids can only do a little because their coordination isn't there yet (we'll spend between one and several lessons on it, if they remain interested), but it works out that those are the kids who will need more time to get the first two measures ready. 

SO....while they are pulling together their first 2 measures, they are doing the ear and finger- work in the D Major pentachord!  And by the time they can play the first 2 measures well, they are prepared to begin the next 2 measures.

What kills me is that then they always take it home and practice it--A LOT!

Look for pieces with repetitive patterns, even if they must split it between hands.

There is always a book on top of my piano with a piece that will work in this way...er, um, well, there WOULD be, if I were not so diligent about refiling my music.

Offline paris

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #22 on: May 05, 2005, 08:51:31 AM »
i love playing duos,  and once i have played 8-hands, on two pianos. we were playing carmen arrangement for 8-hands  and debussy suite.

now i'm playing in duo, we play rachmaninoff italian polka, very fun and interesting piece. also, we have done beethoven variations on Waldstein theme.
has anybody played lutoslawski?  so showy for duo, i like it very much
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Offline gerry

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #23 on: May 05, 2005, 10:02:58 AM »
All great suggestions - did anyone mention the Dvorak Slavonic Dances - really fun to play 4-hand!
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline joell12068

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #24 on: May 05, 2005, 12:19:17 PM »
Since I'm a big Gottschalk fan, let me add his name to the list.  He made some nice four-hand arrangements of his works originally for piano solo.

Offline rajordahl

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #25 on: May 05, 2005, 12:53:51 PM »
There are many excellent suggestions. However, there are not enough pieces composed in the past 50 years. As a composer, this concerns me. I have an unpublished work for four hands, two pianos ( advanced ) that I would be glad to send you a copy of. My email is:
                                                  rajordahl@cox.net

Offline frida1

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #26 on: May 05, 2005, 11:29:14 PM »
My teacher and I play many duets.  We're fortunate in that she has 2 pianos.  My favorite for 2 pianos is L'embarquement pour Cynthere by Francis Poulenc.  It's a very fun, lively and modern-sounding piece.  I'm not very familiar with Poulenc's piano music.  Can someone recommend some good solo piano stuff by him?  I enjoy playing about levels 6-8.

Offline dlu

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #27 on: May 07, 2005, 12:52:12 AM »
Me and my teacher are playing Rachmaninoff-Russian Rhapsody for 2 pianos. I love it.

Offline lagin

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #28 on: May 07, 2005, 02:24:38 AM »
Don't know if you guys have heard of it, but an intermediate-advanced (depending on what you classify as intermediate and advanced), duet by David Karp is called the Dallas Tango, and I'm in love with it!!!!!!!!!
Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven.

Offline medvegonok

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Re: Four-hands repertory
«Reply #29 on: October 17, 2016, 12:07:21 AM »
Scores for piano duo pieces that have orchestral versions - scores for orchestra and piano duo

Scores for piano duet pieces that have orchestral versions - scores for orchestra and piano duet