The title An Amadeus Affair does not quite convey the flavor of this duo piano recording by Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. The blurb-like booklet notes speak of "reimagining the classics," but actually the appeal is somewhat different. With a few exceptions, the program would have been familiar and pleasing to a piano duo audience of 100 years ago, just before the emergence of recordings as a mass medium. At the time Mozart's music was considered perfectly fair game for virtuoso elaboration, and the contemporary exceptions, composed by Anderson and Roe themselves, extend the original concept logically. Anchored by Mozart's Sonata for 2 pianos in D major, K. 448, the program moves through several stages of pianistic elaboration on Mozart's tunes: Liszt's Reminiscences of Don Juan, and Busoni's Duettino concertante, a fairly straight adaptation of the last movement of the Piano Concerto in F major, K. 459. Anderson and Roe then begin somewhere between Liszt and Busoni, with nifty adaptations of a pair of excerpts from the opera Così fan tutte, one of them consisting of limpid melody plus instrumental accompaniment, the other a complex multipart finale. They top off the program with a ragtime-ified Rondo alla Turca from the Piano Sonata in A major, K. 331. Even this would have been common enough during the vogue for "ragging the classics" that swept New York around 1910. Anderson & Roe deliver the entire thing with the requisite flair, and the album is a lot of fun even if the sound environment of a New York state university performing arts center is dull and close. Recommended for duo piano fans.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Così fan tutte, opera, K. 588|
|Sonata in D major, for two pianos, K. 448 (375a)|
|Grand Scherzo (based on the Finale to Act 1 from Così fan tutte, K. 588)|
|Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620|
|Réminiscences de Don Juan, S. 418 (A fantasy on themes from Don Giovanni, K. 527)|