Duo Octavian:

Carson Becke and Suren Barry,

Two Pianos


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) arr. Harold Bauer (1873-1951)

Italian Concerto, BWV 971

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Sonata for Two Pianos in F minor, op. 34b

Carson Becke and Suren Barry, both born and raised in Ottawa, form the two halves of Duo Octavian, an ensemble committed to expanding the two-piano repertoire with their own arrangements of various works and with arrangements/commissions by other performers/composers. Recently, Duo Octavian performed their transcription of Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) with the Ewashko singers under the direction of Laurence Ewashko. The duo has also presented the Canadian premieres of two arrangements by Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev, Porgy and Bess Concert Suite No.1 (based on George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess) and Stravinsky’s The Firebird.  In this new program, entitled 'Expansions', the duo focuses on works that have been made larger in order to explore the many possibilities that the two-piano medium presents.  In doing so, they also highlight the work of the little known but prodigiously talented early twentieth-century British/American pianist Harold Bauer.  Bach's Italian Concerto was originally written for solo harpsichord, simulating a full orchestral concerto on a single instrument.  In this version, Bauer maps out Bach's vision over the much larger canvas of two full pianos, making use of the full keyboard of each instrument.  Schubert's Fantasie in F minor is one of the pinnacles of the piano duet repertoire.  In this arrangement, Bauer uses the power and range of two pianos to enrich the texture and make Schubert's intimate original sound truly symphonic.  Identical in content to his Piano Quintet, Brahms's stormy and tragic Sonata for Two Pianos is one of the staples of the two piano repertoire.  

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

2:00-4:00 pm


Franz Schubert (1797-1828) arr. Harold Bauer

Fantasie in F minor, D. 940

Piano Expansions