This programme was compiled from two sources, but is coherent in its devotion to virtuoso works of a light and rhythmic nature, many incorporating jazz and popular music idioms – some more overtly than others. The first source is the original A Touch of Class CD, issued on Dunelm CD (DRD0241 – now deleted) and recorded when the players were only 17 years old. The best of that recital has been included here with three major modern works recorded in 2009. The CD is a recital programme in every sense of the word, having a lively short ‘overture’ piece, a range of diverse works and two brilliant ‘encores’; it is also a recital in that, though not recorded ‘live’ in the sense of having an audience, the recordings have not been submitted to endless clinical editing or patching of takes, but exist as a true reflection of the twins’ actual performance of these works; while this may include the odd small imperfection in the most stressful passages, which does not denigrate at all from the prodigious talent and pianism of the young performers, it also maintains to true effect the zest, vibrancy and immediacy of a live concert. All the music on the CD is for piano duet, save for Scaramouche, for two pianos.
Identical twins Rachel and Vanessa Fuidge were born in 1988 and began learning the piano with their mother at the age of four years. They were introduced to piano duets when aged eight.
In 2001 and 2002 they took part in the British Federation of Music Festivals workshops. For three years before beginning University in 2003, the twins had lessons with Susan Bettaney – teaching member of the keyboard department at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester – and it was she who introduced them to the annual Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists, where they concentrated on piano duet playing for three years running. At the summer school they met Maltese composer, the late Charles Camilleri, and worked with him on Paganiana, variations for piano, four hands, which they later recorded for Dunelm and which appears on this disc.
The Fuidge family lives in Glossop, Derbyshire, England, so during their formative years, Rachel and Vanessa have given many concerts in the region.
Both Rachel and Vanessa also play the flute and piccolo and have kept up this interest by playing in many different groups at university, from the concert orchestra to the flute quartet they established with fellow musicians.