CD+DVD Reviews

When Words Fade – Anderson & Roe, pianos [TrackList follows] Steinway & Sons CD + DVD

This pair of exciting performers is revolutionizing the duo piano format today.

Published on January 3, 2012

When Words Fade (Night Songs for Piano Duo) – Anderson & Roe [TrackList follows] Steinway & Sons CD + DVD 30006. 77:53 & 29:00 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are concert performers who are successful in breaking out of the old piano duo format and bringing non-classical audiences into their varied repertory. Look at their tracklist below to get an idea of the extremely varied material they perform. They also do all their own arrangements, and alternate two-piano and piano-four-hands works. Their clever arrangements of pop and classical tunes often show the pieces in an entirely new light. They even resort to prepared-piano techniques in their arrangement of the music of Vivaldi in I Feel Within a Rain of Tears. Of the dozen tracks on the CD here, their 13-minute version of themes from Bizet’s Carmen is the big work—rather different from any other set of variations you might have heard on the music from Carmen. They brave not only classical source material, but also contemporary pop tunes of Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Coldplay and Jacques Brel. Grammy-winning producer Steven Epstein produced their CD, and the sonics are just about the best than can be achieved with the 16-bit CD standard.

I started with the accompanying DVD.  It features four music videos which Anderson & Roe not only perform, but they designed, shot and edited them not as straight concert videos but fascinating little short films somewhat like the music videos the MTV channel used to run. The DVD is 16:9 and a mix of black & white and color; some of the shots are very brief, with bizarre things such as one of the pianists lying on the floor and reaching up to the keys, but somehow it all works. Both in the videos and the straight CD it’s apparent that Anderson and Roe enjoy what they’re doing immensely, and probably communicate that well to their audiences around the world.

TrackList, CD:  JACKSON: Billie Jean, VIVALDI: I Feel Within a Rain of Tears, MOZARt: Papageno!, BIZET: Carmen Fantasy, SCHUBERT: Der Erlkonig, RACHMAINOFF: Vocalise, BREL Medley: Mathilde/Marieke/Madeleine, SCHUMANN: Moonlit Night, VILLA-LOBOS: Aria, RADIOHEAD: Paranoid Android, ARNE: The Glitt’ring Sun, COLDPLAY: Viva la Vida

TrackList, DVD: Der Erlkonig, Billie Jean, A Rain of Tears, Carmen Fantasy

—John Sunier




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