Worthwhile but disappointing
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 03/10/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This concert by pianists Joseph and Anthony Paratore is an example of the kind of intelligent, sophisticated programming I'd like to see on DVD more often. Unfortunately, this particular example was a bit of a disappointment. To begin with, only one of the four pieces -- THREE QUARTER-TONE PIECES, by Charles Ives -- was originally written for two pianos. The other three are reductions, made by the Paratores, of pieces originally written for orchestra. While it's both understandable and appropriate for the performers to include some of their own arrangements, I don't think these should have formed the majority of the program. At least half of the concert should have been devoted to pieces actually composed for two pianos -- pieces that don't get performed very often because of the logistics of getting two grand pianos together on one stage. In particular, I wish the program had included Steve Reich's PIANO PHASE. Ironically, my second beef concerns the piece I was most interested in -- the aforementioned Charles Ives piece. The piece requires that one of the pianos be tuned a quarter-tone sharp, and I was hoping to see how they managed to make this happen and still have the pianos conventionally tuned for the pieces preceding and following. (I assume they swapped pianos.) Instead, the concert was edited to create the illusion that nothing had been changed for the Ives piece or changed back afterward. I realize that part of the point of a video presentation is to create this kind of illusion, but they could have included the piano-swapping as an extra for those who were interested.And speaking of the point of video, part of it is to provide views of the event that you couldn't get in real life, and one such view is never provided here. There are long shots of the two performers, and close-ups of each performer's hands of the keys, but never any kind of split-screen close-ups that show both keyboards and both sets of hands simultaneously. You could argue that this is a "cheap trick," out of place in a classical concert, but again, they could have included it as an extra.What they have included is a running textual commentary that you can turn on or off, which I felt added to the presentation. And the surround sound really made me feel like I was there. So, despite my disappointment, it was still a worthwhile experience."
A Winner in My Book
Eric Sjolander | Calabasas, CA USA | 08/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Paratore brothers are technical perfectionists. They play together as one. Their timing and blending make the two concert grands sound as a single instrument.
I was particularly impressed by their playing of "Rhapsody in Blue" without a score. It is a DVD that I play again and again
The audio quality gives it a sound that is better than sitting in a concert hall. I am happy to have it in my DVD collection."