Review: True colours in absorbing rhapsody

Canberra International Music Festival “Rhapsody in Red, White and Blue” At Albert Hall, May 11. Reviewed by Len Power

George Gershwin

George Gershwin

AN opportunity for two pianists to show their true colours, “Rhapsody In Red, White And Blue” was an absorbing and entertaining concert.

The Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo (Liam Viney, of Australia, and Anna Grinberg, from Israel) played four very different selections, two for two pianos and two four-hand pieces.

In an Australian premiere, Percy Grainger’s, “Fantasy” on Gershwin’s “Porgy And Bess”“ for two pianos was played with dramatic flair as well as great emotional feeling.  The highlight was the contrasting sadness of “My Man’s Gone Now” followed by the sprightly “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, the playing capturing perfectly the intention of Gershwin’s music.

By contrast, John Adams’ “Hallelujah Junction” from 1998 was a challenging and no doubt technically difficult piece to play, but was still a delight for the ear.  Of all four pieces played, this exciting work demonstrated the performers’ formidable skills best of all.

Carol Close’s arrangement for four hands of Leonard Bernstein’s “Maria” and “America” from “West Side Story” was a nice study in contrasts and Benjamin Britten’s “Overture to “Paul Bunyan” was a dramatic and exciting piece for four hands well-played by the two performers.

Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for two pianos was the finale of the program and the performers captured its emotional colours very well throughout.  The rapturous applause from the audience at the end of this excellent concert was well-deserved.

 

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