When Words Fade

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

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When Words Fade Review

by Patsy Morita

The piano duo team Anderson & Roe's first release for the Steinway label is When Words Fade. As one might expect, it is arrangements of vocal music for piano, 4-hands or two pianos, and what's covered ranges from the Baroque to Coldplay. Anderson & Roe are not only skillful and virtuosic performers, they understand their instruments completely and know how to get just what they want out of them. In the Vivaldi arrangement, it sounds as if they've adopted techniques of preparing one of the pianos to very accurately replicate the sound of a plucked string orchestra. Yet, they know the piano isn't going to replace the instruments in Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Instead, they work the song into a fantasy-like setting such as Liszt or Grainger might have done, but retain the steady dance beat and attitude throughout. The Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasilieras arrangement doesn't try to imitate the sound of the cello ensemble, either; however, although there are some interesting embellishments in it, it doesn't have the warmth or quite the understated passion of the original. Yet most of Anderson & Roe's arrangements not only show off the two musicians' talent, but shed a new light on some familiar music. The physical package comes with a DVD containing videos to go with four of the tracks. These are not just concert performances, but true music videos with stylish direction, where Anderson & Roe's brilliant playing and enjoyment of the music is evident.

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