This was so cool! Expect the unexpected, they say, and I try to, but I did not expect an encore to beat a full concert. No way. Quite a surprise and a good one with that. It made me vibrate the whole evening and eclipsed what I had heard before and after in such a way that I downloaded the piece during the break and listened to it one more time while driving home from the concert. And the following day I must have listened to it at least four or five more times.
As you may recall, a month ago I reviewed a performance of Henri Dutilleux’ piece “Métaboles” by the Luxembourg Philharmonic. That evening’s program was fairly balanced. Dutilleux was followed by Francis Poulenc and Sergei Rachmaninov. The Labèque sisters, a French pianist duo, performed Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D Minor, which I didn’t like at all. But the twins gave as an encore the third movement of Philip Glass’ piece “Four Movements for Two Pianos”, which positively exhilarated me. A real booster!
The flow of the music, the tension it keeps building up, the harmonic constructions in an art form that has been qualified as “minimalist music” are overwhelming. Minimalist music with a maximum of expressivity – wow! Actually Glass himself refered to himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” And my first thought was: This is a piece that could lure young people to classical music! Why isn’t this performed more often? Despite being a very modern composition, I felt a lot of positive emotions being set free, a wave of energy pulsating through my body – a fairly rare experience with contemporary classical music as far as I am concerned.
“Four Movements for Two Pianos” had been commissioned by the German Klavier-Festival Ruhr 2008; Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa had the pleasure of the premiere on July 7, 2008. The piece has been recorded in 2013 by Katia and Marielle Labèque on an album with other music of this genre called “Minimalist Dream House” and it’s fabulous. Do yourself a favour and enjoy a spring-like trance trip.
© Charles Thibo