Lisitsa and Kuznetsoff/ Anthony and Joseph Paratore | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Lisitsa and Kuznetsoff/ Anthony and Joseph Paratore


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No duo-piano team is more musical than Lisitsa and Kuznetsoff, and none is more flamboyant than the Paratore brothers, two family acts that will make a joint appearance this week in Grant Park. Much of the literature for two pianos consists of transcriptions that try to mimic the volume of an orchestra and show off keyboard pyrotechnics, and this concert promises plenty of dazzling, split-second-precise synchronization for its own sake. The contrasting personalities of the teams--reflected in the selections they have chosen to perform--is part of the fun. Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff, a wife-and-husband duo based in the U.S., were trained in the Russian school of flawless, almost mechanical technique and still pledge allegiance to Slavic and eastern European masters; they'll play works by Rachmaninoff (Suite no 2), Chopin (Rondo in C Major), and Liszt (his floridly idiosyncratic spin on tunes from Mozart's Don Giovanni). (In performance Lisitsa tends to convey sweet tenderness and Kuznetsoff brawny strength, yet Lisitsa, the better pianist, can also do brawny strength, and she'll have ample opportunity to prove it when she tackles the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto on Friday, accompanied by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.) Anthony and Joseph Paratore, though equipped with a classical education from Juilliard, don't mind moving into the semipop realm--which makes them the logical successors to Ferrante and Teicher, an enormously popular duo in the 60s and 70s. Their half of the program is all-American--Copland (Danzon Cubano), Bolcom (Sonata in One Movement), Brubeck ("They All Sing Yankee Doodle"), and Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue). Expect lots of mugging and rapid-fire finger work. Thursday, July 9, 7:30 PM, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson; 312-742-4763. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Lisitsa and Kuznetsoff photo by Iran Issa-Khan; Paratores photo by Hans Seigenabel.

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