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Duo-Piano Gala Concert at Tuckerman
Publish: 2009.11.16 Source: Singapore EEBO|Music Teaching|Piano Training|Secondhand Piano|Music Books-Http://www.eeboedu.com Click:
If you were not at Tuckerman Hall on Saturday, you missed a fun-filled evening of piano music played by some of the area’s most talented artists.

The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra presented its third annual Duo-Piano Gala Concert showcasing the two Steinway grand pianos in the hall, the reconditioned 1902 Model C and the new Model B. Repertoire for the concert ranged from Bach to Dizzy Gillespie — musical forms encompassed traditional theme and variations to jazz; and countries represented stretched from the Republic of Georgia to the United States.

The eight superlative pianists, who performed in groups of varied size, were Malcolm Halliday, Kallin Johnson, Sima Kustanovich, Téa Lomdaridze, Dick Odgren, Olga Rogach, Myron Romanul and Ian Watson.

The first half of the program was framed by two excerpts from opera, “Polonaise from Act 3 of Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky and “Waltz from Faust” by Charles Gounod. The two pieces, though beautifully played by the four artists, demonstrated the difficulty in transcribing from orchestra to piano ensemble. The dances, densely arranged by Schaefer and de Vilback, respectively, lacked the transparent, buoyant texture of the original orchestral versions.

Malcolm Halliday, Olga Rogach and Ian Watson gave a polished and precise performance of an arrangement of the Bach “Italian Concerto in F,” followed by an excellent transcription of Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme” by Haydn, which was given a beautiful reading by Téa Lomdaridze, a Chicago-based pianist, and Ian Watson. A brilliant performance of the second movement of Poulenc’s “Sonata for Two Pianos” was given by Olga Rogach and Sima Kustanovich.

There was a shift back to Bach with Myra Hess’ arrangement of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for four hands and then a sudden move back to the 20th century with two hauntingly lovely selections from Arthur Benjamin’s “Jamaican Street Songs” performed by Malcolm Halliday and Olga Rogach.

The “Sabre Dance from the Gayane Ballet” by Khachaturian opened the second half of the program, followed by the North American premiere of “Concerto for Two Pianos” by Georgian composer Elizbar Lomdaridze.

The first movement of the “Concerto,” which featured bravura chords and sparkling scale passages followed by a contrasting wistful middle section, was brilliantly performed by Téa Lomdaridze, the composer’s daughter, and Myron Romanul.

“Adios Nonino” by Piazzolla was followed by another North American premiere, “Paraphrase on Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca” by Ukrainian composer Nikolai Kapustin. The piece demonstrated Kapustin’s penchant for combining classical styles with modern jazz idioms and was played with great verve and energy by Kallin Johnson and Myron Romanul.

The difference in the timbre of the two Steinways was most pronounced when Johnson was joined by Dick Odgren for a lively jazz set. The resonant, bright sound of the Model C contrasted sharply with the more restrained sound of the newer Model B. Six pianists, three playing on each of the pianos, ended the program with a rollicking performance of “Handful of Keys” by Fats Waller.

A standing ovation from the capacity crowd brought the pianists back for an enthusiastic and spirited rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” complete with “piccolo” solo by Olga Rogach. The crowd loved it, clapping enthusiastically along with the performers.

In short remarks before the encore, Myron Romanul, speaking for all the performers, expressed appreciation to Kallin Johnson, who oversaw the myriad arrangements in preparation for the concert, and to Paul Levenson, executive director of the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, which presented the performance. In this wide-ranging program there was something for everyone and a palpable sense of joy in the evening’s festivities.

It was encouraging to see so many children and young people in the audience and it was delightful to witness how much the performers themselves enjoyed the music-making.
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