The ZOFO Duet -- Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi -- has a somewhat more specialized repertoire than most piano teams: just music for piano, four hands. Its first album demonstrates that it isn't limited to the often-recorded duets by Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. The title, Mind Meld, refers to the relationships between the four composers it features. Leonard Bernstein was the dedicatee of Harold Shapero's Sonata for piano, 4-hands, and the two performed the premier together. The album's opening arrangement of the Candide Overture tries to imitate some of the orchestral sounds, and the two play it with energy, but it isn't as sparkling as the original, partly due to the sound of the piano, which isn't particularly bright or resonant. However, the same gentle sheen works very well in the slow passages of Shapero's sonata and polishes the sophistication of the music, which is somewhat like Stravinsky's Piano Sonata in articulation. ZOFO's well-matched touch also brings out the intimate and exotic mystical nature of Debussy's Épigraphes Antiques. The connection between the Debussy and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is that the two composers played the manuscript together a year before the ballet opened. ZOFO does very well bringing out the fantastical and the barbarity in the music, building excitement as it did in the Shapero. For its first outing ZOFO has shown thoughtfulness in its programming as well as sensitivity and musicality in its interpretations, a combination of characteristics that isn't always encountered in a debut.
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AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
|Sonata for Piano Four Hands|
|Six Épigraphes Antiques|
|Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)|
1. Première Partie. L'Adoration de La Terre (The Adoration of the Earth). Ritual of the Two Rival Tribes
1. Première Partie. L'Adoration de La Terre (The Adoration of the Earth). Procession of the Oldest and Wisest One