Music review: ‘An Amadeus Affair’

March 29, 2014 

“An Amadeus Affair” by Anderson & Roe, duo pianists.

PHOTOGRAPHER: STEFAN WEEBER — Courtesy of Stefan Weeber

  • Classical

    Anderson & Roe, duo pianists

    An Amadeus Affair

Playing the magic of Mozart

Duo pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, noted for their innovative concerts, videos and recordings, have put together a sparkling new CD devoted to Mozart. The selections include only one piece Mozart actually composed, the rest being divided between transcriptions of his music by legendary pianists and new transcriptions by the two themselves. The combination makes for a smile-inducing, toe-tapping delight.

The fun starts with the fizzy, whirling “Duettino concertante,” Ferruccio Busoni’s version of the third movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19. Anderson and Roe give it jaunty verve, sweeping the listener along with dynamic range and crisp fingering. Then there’s Franz Liszt’s “Réminiscences de Don Juan,” a fantasy on themes from “Don Giovanni.” This mesmerizing piece, the disc’s highlight, spins the simple melody of “La ci darem la mano” into extravagantly embroidered digressions alternately sparkling and weighty and does the same for the effervescent “Champagne Aria,” all played with cheeky showmanship and pristine technique.

Anderson and Roe’s own contributions are best in some lovely, heartfelt selections from “Cosi fan tutte,” including the floating interweavings of the Act I finale. A solemn chorale from “The Magic Flute” and a somewhat out of place ragtime version of the “Turkish Rondo” are less engaging, and the pair gives a rather introspective performance of Mozart’s Sonata in D, KV 448.

But overall, this disc provides much joy, aided by a warm acoustic that keeps the pianos from sounding harsh or too metallic.

Correspondent Roy C. Dicks

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