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Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
RECITAL REVIEW
Anderson and Roe / Friday, October 24, 2014
Terry McNeill

Anderson and Roe in Weill Oct. 24 (S. Tubridy Photo)

DARK SPIRITS IN SPOOKY ANDERSON AND ROE WEILL PROGRAM

by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, October 24, 2014

The Anderson and Roe piano duo have been a force in the music world for over a decade. Their arrangements and performances present virtuoso abilities and commitment to engaging audiences in the beauty and drama of classical music, juxtaposed with contemporary artists' music of other genres.
The concert Oct. 24 at Weill Hall was called Dancing in the Dark, a program to celebrate Halloween. Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe introduced each piece with intelligence and humor, warning us of some of the unusual sounds and experiences ahead.

They commenced with Dance Macabre, the St. Saëns Bacchanal for two pianos in their own arrangement. Twelve bells of midnight ushered in a wild revelry of skeletons until a crow announces dawn. It was intense and captivating, the ensemble and connection between the two musicians seemed almost supernatural. The next piece was Rachmaninoff's "The Night…The Love" based on a poem by Byron. This was lush and rich in romantic emotional content, and the beauty of the last slow quiet chords, played as if the two musicians were one, lingered in the hushed hall.

This was followed by Stravinsky's “Adoration of the Earth” from the Rite of Spring, performed on one piano and a ballet from 1913 depicting ancient Russian tribal rituals and through this the tumult and turbulence of the times. We were told that the savagery of the music was meant to shock, and it is relevant to the violence and confusion all over the world today as well. We were told that if we were not terrified and on the edge of our seats, they were not doing things right. They certainly succeeded in an intense emotional and physical impact. An exquisite gentle and sad Ballet from Gluck's Orfeo and Eurydice, arranged for piano duet, depicted an underworld dance of spirits and the loss of a great love, and was intimately played.

The last selection in the first half of the program was Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". Certainly this was a surprise for many, and it was not a cover of the song but rather an attempt to highlight the dark spirit and the iconic dance movements. Throughout the concert the theme of dance was apparent and often the performers would add dance moves to their playing.

We were again surprised following intermission. On a large screen a music video of Schubert's "Der Erlkonig" was shown, a horror film involving Anderson and Roe playing in a Steinway Piano Company warehouse with disintegrating pianos and performers being tossed about violently. This was frightening but always with a sense of humor, a quality the duo have in abundance. Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" was next with challenging sonorities and rhythms, and an introduction inviting us to experience a psychological journey of a dark nightmare tale of alienation and isolation. This unquiet world of strange layered harmonies and sounds then gave way to a beautiful cinematic "Quietly Luminous,” inspired by John Williams' score from Star Wars.

Closing this compelling and provocative concert was a transcription of Bizet's opera Carmen, condensed into 13 minutes of operatic and orchestral beauty and drama. The performers invited us to be seduced by the tempestuous music and it was a wonderful way to end the evening. But no, it wasn't over. The enthusiastic audience was treated to Sabre Dance by Khatchaturian and then Piazzola's Libertango on one piano. It was played very sensually as a tango, with eyes, arms and bodies suggesting the tango as nimble fingers danced.

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are fascinating artists, and they lavished an appreciative audience with delightful tricks and treats.




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