[The first historical record of two-piano
playing was in 1781 when Mozart (left) and Clementi (right) were engaged in friendly contest in the Court of Emperor Joseph II, when they each improvised on a theme by Paisiello (below) whilst the other provided
It is not until the 19th century, however, that two-piano recitals were established as a concert medium by the Hungarian brothers Willie and Louis Thern, who were heard annually in London and Liverpool, made many tours of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. And in Paris they played in fashionable salons and were friendly with people such as Prince Metternich, Baron d’Erlanger, Rossini and Berlioz. Their repertoire included works by Franz Liszt, who often attended their concerts and even played with them. Since then the two-piano recital has become a regular constituent of the musical scene.]
It was on March 2, 1969 that – as reported by the music critic of the leading English-language newspaper The Statesman – “Azim Lewis and Lolita Mayadas presented a two-piano recital by Calcutta artistes at Max Müller Bhavan.….With this concert, this husband and wife duo are now established as a two-piano team of significance.” The duo-recital program (shown alongside) consisted of works by J.S. Bach, Saint-Saens, Schumann and Weber-Weingartner.
Looking back on a 50-year life-long partnership, I discover there are certain moments that remain in ones memory as clear as daylight. I’m talking here about spouses working jointly on various projects over the years – some with great success, others so-so, but never to the point that they would call it quits.
Thus, it is with my childhood sweetheart, Lolita and me, who as kindergartners played kiddie games in New Delhi, India, and as young adults – newly married – played together as piano partners in concert, initially in Calcutta, West Bengal, and later in Rochester, NY, as well as in Miami and Palm Beach, FL, in the USA.
Those were halcyon days in more ways than one, yet I still count my blessings each and every day with my help-meet and close family members.
References: My Diary; The Statesman, Calcutta; Wikipedia
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