The Art of Bach. Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Album review
The Art of Bach. Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Anderson & Roe

The Art of Bach

Label: Steinway
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

This contemplative, refreshing album from Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, partners since 2002, has—unusually—several transcriptions of sacred pieces. “God’s Time is the Best Time” makes for a tender prelude to the bright and cheerful Concerto in C for two keyboards. Some of the phrasing in its first movement is, I think, meant to sound impetuous, but it often comes across a little abrupt, especially in contrast to the mellifluous slow movement. In the nimble finale, one of the duo’s best characteristics is on display, the ability to bring clarity of line to textures that could easily sound cluttered. The homophonic writing in pieces like St. Matthew’s Passion can be even denser, and the pianists outdo themselves in illuminating the music’s salient points. These five movements are sublime; “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” is the highlight of the album, leading straightway into the dancing relief of “Make Yourself Pure, My Heart.” Contrapunctus XIIIa from The Art of the Fugue is far giddier than its name suggests. “The Soul Rests in Jesus’ Hands” has a guest violinist; he’s not the greatest, but the new voice helps freshen up the program. Max Reger’s transcription of the Third Brandenburg Concerto is a glittering, fantastic ending to this gorgeous-sounding release.

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  • primary artist, Anderson & Roe

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