The literature for two pianos contains few masterpieces. Here are two modern exceptions. The three-movement En blanc et noir (In White and Black) is from 1915, in the “Indian Summer” of Debussy’s career. Compared to the classic Paul Jacobs/Gilbert Kalish recording, this lingers less in the slow movement and has a livelier Scherzando. The seat-of-the-pants excitement of the Jacobs/Kalish concert recording is replaced here by lapidary precision and better sound and balance.
Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen was written in 1943 for him and his piano student (later wife), Yvonne Loriod, to play together; it was the first of his monumental piano cycles. A 1962 stereo recording of Loriod and Messiaen playing it occasionally flits into print as an import; in timing it has similarities with this new recording (which, at 47:26, is a mere 14 seconds slower). Some movements can pall easily, but Raat and AustbÃ¸ sound freshly vivid throughout.