Quattro Mani Restructure Piano Duo Concept

The new release from the Quattro Mani is aptly titled “Re-Structures.” Steven Beck and Susan Grace restructure the concept of a piano duo, making it more of a keyboard duo. And that’s an important distinction.

The program features works for two pianos as bookends. Paul Lanksy’s brisk and brief “Out of the Blue” opens the set, while Ofer Ben-Amots’ “Tango for the Road” closes it. Both are refreshingly original works for a traditional piano duo.

Poul Ruder’s “Cembal D’more” is a dialogue for harpsichord and piano. This set of eight miniatures explores the sonic differences between these two instruments. Beck and Grace are each playing different types of keyboard instruments, both with slightly different technical demands.

Tod Machover’s work “Re-Structures” pays homage to Pierre Boulez. Machover reworked music from his two pianos series, “Structures,” and added live electronics. The resulting piece is an exciting journey that moves past the sonic world of just two pianos.

The oldest work on the album is also the most challenging (and not just for the listener). Lebenslauf (Életút), op. 32 by György Kurtág is for two pianos and two basset horns. The pianos are tuned a quarter-tone apart. The tension between the two instruments gives the work its energy.

Susan Grace and Steven Beck are not just accomplished performers. Their chemistry makes the Quattro Mani work — and work well. “Re-Structures” is an adventurous program. And I think it succeeds in expanding the scope of what two pianists can do.

Quattro Mani: Re-Structures
Steven Beck, Susan Grace, duo piano
Works by Paul Lanksy, Poul Ruders, Tod Machover, György Kurtág, and Ofer Ben-Amots
Bridge Records 9496

More Recent Posts

  • New Jazz Adds – 7/21/2018 The Rob Dixon Trio – Coast To Crossroads (Self-produced): Rob Dixon (alto, tenor sax) is a jazz and funk player who joined up with Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar) and Mike Clark (drums) with additional trombone by Ernest Stuart. The combination clearly creates some great flavors in both arenas. Dixon composed […]

  • Blue Cactus Flourishes in the Country of WTJU, Aug 9

    Classic country band Blue Cactus will stop by WTJU this Thursday afternoon, August 9, at 1:30 (edt) for a live session.  Later that evening you can catch them over at The Garage.

  • Quebe Sisters Leave Texas for WTJU, July 27

    The Quebe Sisters will stop by WTJU this Friday afternoon, July 27, at 1:30 for a live session ahead of their concert that night in Waynesboro at the Wayne Theater. When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually […]

  • #ClassicsaDay #NAFTAclassics Week 3

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    We have an international mix of contributors to the #ClassicsaDay feed. July has significant holidays for two of the three countries in North America. So, at the suggestion of a Canadian contributor, July became #NAFTAclassics, marking Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4). Mexico doesn’t have a July holiday, but we decided to […]

  • The Fly Birds on Lambeth Live, Aug 3

    Old-Timey trio The Fly Birds will put on the August 3 edition of Lambeth Live (heard each Friday night from 8-9 on WTJU), and you are invited to be part of the studio audience for this FREE concert broadcast! You can of course listen to the concert (91.1 FM around Charlottesville, on-line at wtju.net), or […]