Piano duo presents impressive program

David Rogosin and Janet’s Hammock’s Piano Fusion tour made its fourth stop at Brunton’s second Mid-Week Music guest recital, presenting a thrilling afternoon of duo piano compositions. The well-rounded program presented classical, romantic, modern and newly composed pieces for four hands. Highly regarded piano duo pieces were contrasted by fresh compositions, giving the audience a variety of listening experiences.

David Rogosin and Janet Hammock of piano fusion. Gary Tucker/photographer
David Rogosin and Janet Hammock of piano fusion. Gary Tucker/photographer

A light-hearted and expressive performance of Mozart’s Andante and Variations opened the program. The duo demonstrated superb musicality through its lyrical melodies. Clear voicing and delicate phrasing complemented the music’s well-arched ideas, while continuous momentum generated by shifting variations gave the performance life.

The program’s highlight came in a stunning rendition of the second piece, Schubert’s Fantasie in F Minor. Rogosin and Hammock’s engaging interpretation resulted in a powerful live performance that could not be replicated.

The duo displayed “excellent synchronization,” second-year pianist Madeline Gaudette said. “There was a really good physical, spiritual and musical connection between them.”

The mysterious tone of the opening theme captivated the audience with its beauty and intimacy that increased with every recurrence. Rogosin and Hammock built in stirring contrasts and emphasized dramatic silences, creating climactic momentum and an atmosphere full of suspense.

The subsequent three works shifted the suspenseful mood. Professors Kevin Morse of Mt. A and Richard Gibson of the Université de Moncton, who attended the concert, commissioned two works for the Piano Fusion tour.

Solo piano practice inspired Morse’s Alone/Together. Morse’s work explores how collaboration with another pianist alters how a solo pianist approaches the composition. Alternating rising and falling phrases between the two simulated dialogue, a musical conversation between two pianists.

The concert ended with four movements from Debussy’s Six Épigraphes antiques, displaying the duo’s ability to incorporate different tones and colours within their playing. “You want to create an atmospheric wash of sound while making the layers relatively obvious to the listener,” said Dakota-Scott Digout, a fourth-year student well-acquainted with Debussy’s piano works.

“[The performance was] very clean in this regard,” Digout said. “The duo [achieved] the goal of making the layers complement each other while still allowing them to maintain a certain independence.”

The final Mid-Week Music recital, Birds of a Feather, will present an afternoon of newly composed flute and piano music with flutists Michelle Cheramy and Mt. A’s Karin Aurell alongside pianist Kristina Szutor.

Isaiah Yankech
Isaiah Yankech is a contributor to the Argosy.