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Anthony & Joseph Paratore

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Piano duos just don't get the sort of respect and celebrity accorded solo players: few composers have thought enough of the format to write great music expressly for it, and four-handed synchrony is often seen as a stunt. (As children, Mozart and his sister performed as a duo for royalty, who delighted in their freakishness.) But in the 19th century four-handed transcriptions of orchestral works were a popular middle-class home entertainment. Although that tradition was killed by the radio and the LP, a good number of pianists (usually siblings or spouses) have made the duo literature their calling, thus sustaining interest in this flamboyant niche. Anthony and Joseph Paratore are brothers from Boston, erstwhile soloists who joined forces in 1974 to follow in the footsteps of fellow Juilliard alums Ferrante & Teicher. Among the best in their field, the Paratores are masterful in technique and eclectic in taste: their repertoire covers the golden oldies for four hands (Mozart, Schubert), show tunes, and the work of Dave Brubeck, a fan of theirs. In the 80s and early 90s, the Paratores were in much demand here (as were their distaff counterparts the Labecque Sisters), but recently their visits have been few and far between. This recital concludes the Music Institute of Chicago's three-concert festival of piano duos, organized by faculty members Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem--themselves a duo. The program is characteristically diverse, encompassing Schubert's Divertissement a la hongroise, Brahms's Hungarian Dances nos. 2, 3, and 6, a bravura arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and Brubeck's Points on Jazz. Monday, July 28, 7:30 PM, Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston; 847-905-1500.

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