The duo Egri & Pertis also attracted the attention of various radio and television companies with performances of unknown works of duo literature, such as ORF, Hungarian Radio, RAI2, Duna TV, Bavarian Radio and Ö1.
Furthermore, the duo was able to reach an even wider audience with CD and DVD recordings, whose programmes present thematic and musical history connections. So far, Monika Egri and Attila Pertis have released 16 CDs and one DVD, and contributed to two more CD albums. Their latest Schubert CD (a live recording) contains late works and rarities by the composer.
CD & DVD Overview & Info:
The duo’s first CD, “Journey Around the World”, was released by Preludio in 1995. The program of this album guides the listener through continents and countries of the world with the help of musical examples. The starting point of this journey is Hungary. From there, the way leads on and on through the neighbouring countries, and, after a circle around the earth, finally arrives in Hungary again.
Several years of research and preparation preceded the recording of all of Franz Liszt’s opera paraphrases for 2 pianos and 4 hands. The album, consisting of 2 CDs, was released by Hungaroton in 1998 and won the international “Grand Prix du Disque Liszt”. This recording was the prelude to a collaboration between the duo and Hungaroton that continues to this day.
This Mendelssohn CD, which contains only premier recordings, was released in 1999. In addition to well-known works arranged by the composer himself (Songs Without Words, Pieces for Children), the programme also included rarities such as the Duo Concertante, which was composed by Mendelssohn and his former teacher and later friend Ignaz Moscheles together on a theme by Weber.
Not only the program, but also the instrument is unique this recording series, which was released under the title “Pleyel Double Grand Series”. The instrument, built according to the motto “one body – one soul”, was a guest in the Hungaroton studio for several weeks to immortalise its unique sound. The first recording of the “Pleyel and Contemporaries” series was finished in 2000: the duo dedicated the programme to the founder of the Pleyel piano factory and the composers (Chopin, Rossini, Liszt, etc.) which were closely related to the Pleyel family.
A great admirer of the Pleyel pianos was Chopin. His works, performed on a Pleyel instrument, unmistakably appear in a new light. This fact moved the duo Egri & Pertis to compile the programme of their second CD on the double grand piano from works by Chopin. This CD is titled “Chopiniana”. The record contains all of Chopin’s works for 2 pianos and for 4 hands, as well as the Sonata in B minor originally composed for piano solo, which was brilliantly arranged by Saint-Saëns for 2 pianos.
The next recording of the “Pleyel Double Grand Series” is the “Duettino”. This CD contains numerous premier recordings and guides the listener into the musical world of Saint-Saëns. With their programme, the duo intended to resolutely confront the one-sided image of Saint-Saëns that still prevails today and that degrades him to a composer of light, superficial, virtuoso works. In addition to the Beethoven Variations, which are considered classics, the CD Duettino presents works inspired by Greek mythology and a Heine ballad.
Apart from the “Double Grand Series” the duo remains faithful to the “normal” piano, which they prove with their CD “Inspirations” released in 2000. This CD features duo and duet works inspired by foreign themes. An absolute highlight is the Great Concert Piece on Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words. The duo reconstructed and studied this work from the damaged manuscript. This large-format fantasia is joined on this CD by the Schubert marches arranged by Liszt, which are also premier recordings, as well as the well-known Rákóczi March.
“Who was Thalberg?” Many people will ask this question when they pick up this CD, though the composer this CD is dedicated to is not counted as one lacking personality. Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871) was a celebrated star of his times, almost a musical demigod – “he is a god when sitting at the piano” (Schumann) – and he maybe was the only pianist the music world considered a worthy competitor to Liszt at that time. Like Chopin and Liszt, Thalberg was a fervent admirer of the opera genre and admired the human voice. This enthusiasm strongly influenced both his interpretative and compositional attitude. Besides Liszt, Thalberg was considered the greatest composer of paraphrases; he enriched this genre with more than 60 works (among them several for four hands or for two pianos).
This programme focuses on Brahms, accompanied by two musician friends whose friendship had a decisive impact on Brahms’ life and career: Robert Schumann and Josef Joachim. Via Brahms’ arrangement of 16 Ländlers, this CD also quotes Franz Schubert, whom the German Romantic School revered as one of its spiritual fathers.
Ernst von Dohnányi and Béla Bartók – a friendship despite different musical paths.
Original duo version of The Miraculous Mandarin by Bartók, juxtaposed with the Waltz Suite by Dohnányi.
The highlight of this Mendelssohn CD is certainly the first recording of the Midsummer Night’s Dream in the composer’s original duet version. But here, too, you’ll find surprises, such as the Sonata in D major for two pianos and the Sonata movement in G minor, which Mendelssohn composed as a child.
Live recording of a concert on the Pleyel double grand piano in the Royal Castle Gödöllö in Hungary. After the Double Grand Series CD series, this instrument rarity can now also be seen unfolding its wonderful sound in the magnificent acoustics of the castle. Works by Dohnányi, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Pleyel, Saint-Saens, Debussy and Chasins.
Known and less-known works by Grieg on the Pleyel double grand piano: In addition to the Norwegian Dances also Nordic Ways, the Waltz Caprices, the Norse Romances with Variations, Two Symphonic Pieces as well as the Nordic Bridal Procession sound in passing.
Musical rarities on an instrument rarity, is there a more exciting combination? The composer, Jules Massenet, who was marked down as an opera composer, enriched the piano duet literature with numerous gems. And there are also surprises from César Franck: His 1st duo on “God Save the King”
The duo’s third Liszt CD is dedicated to the six Hungarian Rhapsodies which the composer has arranged for piano duet or composed newly. The Liszt researcher Maria Eckhardt wrote an exciting read about this thought creation process, which can be read in the accompanying CD booklet.
Schubert’s late works for piano four-hands date from the years 1826 and 1828. Most of them are extensive and challenging compositions with which Schubert intended to become known abroad. One of the most famous ones is the Fantasy in F minor (D 940), for which an extensive draft has survived. It shows important deviations from the final version and is now available for the first time in the volume “Works for Piano Four-Hands 3” in the “New Schubert Edition”, published by Walburga Litschauer in cooperation with Werner Aderhold. This CD documents a lecture concert by the editor with the internationally renowned piano duo Egri and Pertis, in which some works from Schubert’s last year and, for the first time, from his preliminary stages were presented, which could be reconstructed from concept materials, providing new insights into the composer’s workshop. © Austrian Academy of Sciences.
The composer Jenö Pertis, deceased in 2007, father of Attila Pertis, composed several works for the duo Egri & Pertis. Two of them were immortalized on his overture CD, “Family Music and other Chamber Works” (released in 2006): “Four Etudes” and “Family Music No.4 – Three Mystical Etudes”.
The renowned Hungarian composer, Erzsébet Szőnyi – student of Zoltán Kodály – composed a four-movement suite for two pianos for the duo Egri & Pertis, entitled “Pictures from Jerusalem”. After numerous concert performances, this work was immortalized in 2004 on the Oeuvre CD, which was released by Hungaroton in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday.
Audio samples from the CDs released so far: