Friday, January 7, 2011

The Friday Phonograph

Four Hands, Two Pianos, And a Lot of Electricity

by Anne French

One piano at a time is usually quite enough for me. But when I heard Russian pianist Polina Leschenko, paired with Cuban virtuoso Mauricio Vallina, I was really mesmerized by the chemistry and artistry they exude as they play Anton Arensky's (1861-1906) Suite no. 1 (Romance and Valse) for two pianos, op. 15. Arensky's works all reveal singing melodic lines and compositional fluency, as well as an affinity for unusual rhythmic patterns. But in order to execute these elements and communicate the deeper sentiments involved, there must be an extraordinary spiritual connection between the artists. That is what struck me in this performance. What a lovely way to begin the first full weekend of the New Year.

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