Ventura Music Festival

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Two Piano Recital Program

Saturday, July 15, 8:00 pm
Ventura College Performing Arts Center
4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, CA

Greg Anderson
Elizabeth Joy Roe

V: Allegretto
from Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
Ludwig van Beethoven / Anderson & Roe
Hallelujah Junction
1st Movement
2nd Movement
3rd Movement
John Adams
Hallelujah Hallelujah Variations
(Variations on a Theme by Leonard Cohen)
Ave Maria, D. 839 Franz Schubert / Anderson & Roe
Let It Be John Lennon & Paul McCartney / Anderson & Roe
La Valse Maurice Ravel
Saturday Night Waltz from Rodeo Aaron Copland / Anderson & Roe
Boogie from Five Days from the Life of a Manic-Depressive Paul Schoenfield
Billie Jean from Thriller Michael Jackson / Anderson & Roe
Mambo from West Side Story Leonard Bernstein / Anderson & Roe

THE ANDERSON & ROE PIANO DUO is the “most dynamic duo of this generation” on a mission “to make classical music a relevant and powerful force in society.” Since forming their musical partnership in 2002 as students at The Juilliard School, this Billboard® chart-topping team has appeared on NPR and MTV and toured extensively worldwide as recitalists and orchestral soloists. They’ve captivated audiences with transcendental live performances and “adrenalized” Emmy®-nominated, self-produced music videos viewed by millions on YouTube. “The intense synchronization of genius” in their mix of arrangements of both classical and popular music “aims to revolutionize the piano duo experience for the 21st century.” One of their performances appears on the Sounds of Juilliard CD celebrating the school’s centenary. Also new is a DVD of their ambitious music film The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey. Recent Steinway Label albums include When Words Fade, An Amadeus Affair and The Art of Bach. Program notes are from A&R’s website.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was known to take long strolls in the Viennese countryside for leisure and inspiration, reflecting a strong affinity for nature. He described his sixth symphony as a “Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of Country Life” that was “more an expression of feeling than painting” and its fifth movement as "A Shepherd’s song—cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm,” marking the tempo of this spacious rondo as allegretto or “at a brisk speed.”

John Adams (b. 1947), one of America’s best known and most often performed composers, writes that “Hallelujah Junction is a small truck stop on Highway 49 in the High Sierras on the California-Nevada border near where I have a small cabin. For years I would pass through in my car, wondering what piece of music might have a title like ‘Hallelujah Junction.’ It was a case of a good title needing a piece, so I obliged by composing this work for two pianos. Two pianos is a combination that’s long intrigued me. What attracts me is the possibility of having similar or even identical material played at a very slight delay, thereby creating a kind of planned resonance, as if the sonorities were being processed by a delay circuit. The brilliant attacks and rich ten-fingered chords of the grand pianos suggest endless possibilities for constructing an ecstatic, clangorous continuum, the effect of which could not be achieved with any other sonorous instrument.”

In 1984 Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) released his most well-known song, a meditation on the elusive nature of love and the search for atonement. The lyrics contain emotional multitudes and the meaning of Hallelujah itself seems to shift throughout, alternating between despair, yearning, ecstasy and praise; it emerges as a call that is not solely religious, but profoundly human. In creating our set of variations, we were influenced by the late works of Beethoven and Schubert, who both were masters at unearthing an almost otherworldly transcendence amid human struggle.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed Ave Maria as one of seven songs inspired by Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. He originally set his music to the text of the novel’s heroine Ellen’s third song. But later the song was adapted for use with the standard Roman Catholic prayer in Latin to the Virgin Mary, one of the ultimate icons of motherhood.

The Beatles’ gospel-inflected ballad Let It Be by John Lennon (1940-1980) and Paul McCartney (b. 1942) pays poignant tribute to Paul’s “mother Mary” who died of an embolism when he was 14 years old while also invoking the “other Mary” of Ave Maria in a nod to his mother’s Catholic faith.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) composed his “choreographic poem” La Valse as a savage and apocalyptic wartime waltz of biting satire and destruction moving from a glittering bygone Viennese nostalgia to a cataclysmic climax, depicting the demise of a civilization. Perhaps best known in its orchestral version, Ravel transcribed it for two pianos for its first performance in 1920.

Aaron Copland (1900-1990) quoted the traditional cowboy song Old Paint in his Saturday Night Waltz from his 1940 ballet Rodeo, choreographed by Agnes de Mille. This ballet score celebrating the American West inspired A&R’s popular 2015 video.

Paul Schoenfield (b. 1947), sometimes called “the next Gershwin,” moves with “wizardly ease” from popular, folk, klezmer and classical genres to create “daring combinations of musical forms” such as the piano concerto “Four Parables,” two-act opera “The Merchant and the Pauper,” song cycles “Camp Songs” and “Ghetto Songs” and Boogie, the dizzying fifth “day” or final part of “Five Days from the Life of a Manic-Depressive.”

Michael Jackson (1958-2009) hints at the sinister sides of human nature in Billie Jean, recounting a tale of obsession and suspense. Immortalized by an enigmatic, film noir-inspired music video and an out-of-this-world dance move (the moonwalk), we’ve re-imagined the song in an avant-garde “classical” vein while emphasizing its nocturnal edginess and MJ’s legendary use of rhythm.

Our alma mater Juilliard now stands at the very locale of West Side Storymdash;the beloved, brilliant musical by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) that has inspired our most high-octane music video “Ready...Set...Mambo!” Mambo, a musical genre and dance style invented during the 1930s by Cuban composer Arsenio Rodríguez, developed by Cachao and made popular by Benny Moré, reached a mambo-mania pitch in 1950s New York City that set Bernstein off in creating his own version in 1957.

Janet & Mark L. Goldenson
Dr. Richard & Lori Reisman

VMF logo art