ZOFO Duet

Mosh Pit

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Unusual title, ensemble name, performer clothing, and graphics aside, this is a straightforward recital of four-hand piano music. True, it's quite inventive. The Mosh Pit title refers to the fact that the music on the program, all of it American, refers to popular dance rhythms. The exploration of dance is not in fact carried forward to the punk era, so nobody would have been doing any moshing to the rhythms employed here. But the range of references is impressive, running from European forms in John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances and Latin rhythms in Gershwin's Cuban Overture (arranged for piano four-hands by the composer) to the turn-of-the-20th-century dances in Samuel Barber's Souvenirs, Op. 28, to modern jazz, boogie, and rock in the final two works on the program, Allen Shawn's Three Dance Portraits and Paul Schoenfeld's Five Days from the Life of a Manic-Depressive. The titles might not suggest it, but these are hugely entertaining works. The Jimi Hendrix-like finale of Three Dance Portraits matches the extreme virtuosity of several other works on the program, including Conlon Nancarrow's Sonatina, written in 1941 for one piano, difficult enough on two, and eventually a stimulus for the composer's use of player piano rolls. There's something of the characteristic excitement that occurs when foreign musicians really get American rhythms here, and the performances by Zofo, the duo of Keisuki Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann (based in San Francisco), have a very attractive looseness that persists through all the technical fireworks. A most enjoyable piano four-hands release, all the more impressive for its unearthing of contemporary works that are not new (Three Dance Portraits and Five Days from the Life of a Manic-Depressive were composed in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively), but are totally relevant to the enterprise.

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