Christina and Michelle Naughton at Lincoln Center

Duo Pianists Feature Classic Style and Its Deconstruction

By: - May 13, 2018

Christina and Michelle Naughton, Pianos
Lincoln Center Great Performers
Walter Reade Theater
New York, New York
May 13, 2018

Double your pleasure, double your  fun with the fabulous duo pianists, Christina and Michelle Naughton.  The Sunday morning concert at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center is a popular fixture of the Great Performers series.  Up and coming artists introduce themselves.  The Naughtons are well on their way to prominence in the field of classical music. In this wake-up concert they took it upon themselves to delight by alternating conventional music, marvelously performed, with deconstructions of familiar themes.

Ravel's Mother Goose Suite for four hands began the Mother's Day program.  The twins sat next to each other, each wearing long, sleeveless scarlet silk dresses and spiked cream satin pumps.  I am not sure how you share the pedals with your sister, but collaboration is the twins' specialty. Codes for 'your foot', 'my foot' have undoubtedly been developed. 

The pure beauty of the pianos' sound was magnified.  Particularly striking is the dashing approach to a note or chord and its electrifying release.  There are also magisterial gestures in which the pianists' long arms rise from and fall to the keyboard.

John Adams likes to compose for the twins.  His Roll Over Beethoven is a deconstruction of the composer.  Phrases are started and then stopped before their accustomed ending. Keys change.  Colors change. We are familiar with the themes of the scherzo and opening of the Beethoven Sonata in A and are encouraged to take pleasure in the composer's play with them.  Beethoven is always there, but he has rolled over the end.  The pianists have joined him and Adams in their exuberant take.  

For Chopin, the Naughtons honored the rondo form with its interior episodes encased in repeats. A delicate theme appears often amidst the bravura escapades and adventures. Both pianists have hands that dance over and on the keyboard.
Concluding with Variations on a Theme by Paganini by Witold Lutoslawki (who I at first thought was Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky of Lehrer fame) delighted with these outrageous themes transcribed for the piano.  The composer had success performing duo piano pieces in cafes.  This difficult piece was a piece of cake for him.  The twins pull it off in the same spirit before an agape audience.