November 15, 2001

One Piano, Four Hands

On Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. The Cathedral Church of St. Paul was the setting for a concert of music for one piano, four hands. The four hands belonged to Elaine Greenfield and Jan Meyer Thompson, the two members of the Transcontinental Piano Duo.

It was a lecture-recital, which targetted the many young piano students who were in the audience. Just as they changed upper and lower parts, so too did Greenfield and Thompson alternate speaking.

The Program contained works by Bach, Schubert, Faure, Bizet, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky. The playing was impassioned yet very tightly a single unit. If give and take is necessary in quartets and trios, this scoring of music makes an even closer agreement on interpretation and physical nearness an absolute necessity.

Thompson and Greenfield demonstrated time and again their ability to re-create the music and to do so while at the closest of quarters. Style shone through, especially in the impressionist music of Faure, Debussy and Ravel. It made the Bizet shine, the Schubert sing, the Ravel shimmer, the Stravinksy shatter the silence of St. Paul's.

Last time the duo performed here, they released a fine recording . I hope they'll do so again.