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A Sparkling Account

The Kanazawa-Admony Piano Duo
pays tribute to Carola Grindea,
reviewed by MALCOLM MILLER


It was apt to dedicate the BPSE lunchtime recital on 13 July 2009 at St James' Piccadilly, London, UK, to the memory of Carola Grindea, BPSE co-founder and Vice-Chairman, who died three days earlier, in her tenth decade.

Carola Grindea
Carola Grindea

The well attended concert, by the prize-winning Kanazawa-Admony Piano Duo, presented jointly with the Forum for Israeli Music of the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, was introduced by BPSE Chairman Malcolm Troup, who welcomed the duo's dedication and underlined Carola Grindea's remarkable accomplishments in founding, as well as the BPSE, two most significant international organisations, EPTA and ISSTIP.

The feast of four-hand music, played with virtuoso panache, was certainly an eloquent tribute to Carola Grindea's lifelong enthusiasm for pianists, piano music and piano pedagogy.

Tami Kanazawa and Yuval Admony
Tami Kanazawa and Yuval Admony

The husband and wife duo from Israel launched their programme with the UK première of a richly coloured Sonata a Quattro Mani by one of Israel's leading composers, the octogenarian Yehezkel Braun, present in the audience to acknowledge warm applause. The three movement work was dedicated to Braun's mentor Alexander Uriah Boskovich (1907-64), a leading pioneer of Israel's Eastern Mediterranean style, one of whose songs formed the theme of the variation finale.

The variations, which increase in complexity towards a climactic restatement of the starkly modal theme, are preceded by two contrasting movements, the first projecting waves of evanescent textures, and the central movement evoking middle-eastern dances in its Gigue like patterns exchanged in cascading imitative dialogues.

The seldom played duet version of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge Op 134, in the composer's own arrangement, formed the formidable centrepiece, given a breath-taking account. It has been described by Charles Rosen as technically 'impossible', according to Robert Winter, writing in Variations on the Canon -- Essays on Music from Bach to Boulez in Honor of Charles Rosen on His Eightieth Birthday, edited by Robert L Marshall (University of Rochester Press, 2008, ISBN 9781580462853). The duo's artful choreography of hand crossings and leaps, and their fine dynamic shading, enabled each subject, countersubject, augmentation and diminution, to emerge with varied emphasis, generating tension and drama.

This tour de force was followed by yet another, Mendelssohn's Allegro Brillante Op 92, composed in 1841 for the début of another conjugal ensemble, Robert and Clara Schumann: exhilarating elfin textures contrasted with poetic colouring in their sparkling account. 'Le Bal' from Bizet's Jeux d'Enfants offered a witty encore. During their UK visit, the duo also performed at St Barnabas' Church, Ealing, in West London. We hope they will soon return to these shores at a major London venue. Fortunately we may, in the meantime, enjoy their Naxos CD of Liszt Symphonic Poems soon to be followed by a CD of Rhapsodies on the Romeo label.

Copyright © 18 July 2009 Malcolm Miller,
London UK















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