DUO Stephanie & Saar | Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago | Classical | Chicago Reader
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DUO Stephanie & Saar All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., July 20, 7:30 p.m. 2012
Price: $25, $15 seniors, $10 students
This oddly named piano duo—husband and wife Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia—named their recent album Bach Crossings (New Focus) in part because its Bach transcriptions for four hands by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag so often required them to cross arms while sitting side by side at a single piano. This lovely, concise recording does nothing to obscure Bach's indelible melodies (most of the pieces are cantatas, so the transcriptions required editorial decisions), but it still feels very different from conventional performances of the same music: Kurtag provides a modern sensibility and heightened harmonic splendor, while Ho and Ahuvia bring a less rigid sense of time and rhythm, creating a rich fluidity. For this concert, part of the Music Institute of Chicago's annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival, Ho and Ahuvia will play music from the album—which also includes two Kurtag transcriptions of 17th-century Girolamo Frescobaldi pieces—and four-handed works by Claude Debussy (a transcription of Nocturnes) and John Adams (Hallelujah Junction). —Peter Margasak



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