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Estrella are a New Zealand-based ensemble who have melded the two-piano and four-hand genres into one for four players, eight hands, at two keyboards. Their programme of New Zealand pieces contain several written specially for them within the last five years, though several are arrangements for eight hands of earlier works. Gareth Farr’s driving apprentice essay Into the Chasm (1988) is a curious combination of dodecaphony and minimalism concluding with a 42-note chord! John Rimmer’s Hammerheads (2008) draws part of its material from a single chord in The Rite of Spring. The title-track, Hamilton’s Tui, is a hushed impressionistic tone poem of a New Zealand bird, framed by taped birdsong. The remaining tracks are mostly descriptive, and the performances are fluent and riveting with fine music-making outweighing the occasional longueurs.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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