September: Sinfonietta, Stereophile, SFCV / by Elizabeth Roe

The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo opened the Chicago Sinfonietta's concert season with "Unhinged": a jam-packed piano-centric extravaganza, featuring the Poulenc Double Concerto, Stravinsky's complete Petrushka, Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," and a brand new arrangement of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" for two pianos and orchestra. Check out a preview of the concert on WGN TV as well as the Chicago Tribune review here.

An in-depth profile of Elizabeth is featured in the San Francisco Classical Voice:

"...Onstage I do feel a heightened version of myself, one that is brave and passionate, and that’s really just open. In an odd way, I feel that music leads me to accept and to honor the person I really am."

Read the complete interview with Mark MacNamara here: Elizabeth Roe: The Executor of Risk

In album news, Elizabeth's John Field: Complete Nocturnes received a glowing review in Stereophile; it was granted 5 STARS for both the performance and sonics.

This CD barely needs a review. What Franz Liszt said of the 18 Nocturnes of John Field (1782-1837) will do: “No one has revived...these half-sighs of the breezes, plaintive wailings, ecstatic moanings.” But I have an addendum: These Nocturnes adhere to no specific form, but are, rather, short, exquisitely melodic meditations on, mostly, sadness. They’re not lugubrious—Field was too interested in beauty for that—but neither are they as florid, filled with angst, or harmonically complex as Chopin’s. This is not a criticism—as you’ll realize when you hear this disc, which I recommend you do.

If Field’s Nocturnes have a format, one might say that in most, particularly the early ones, the left hand plays ostinato (a repeated phrase/rhythm) while the right hand tends to the melodic content—sometimes straightforward, more often fascinatingly chromatic. The overall mellowness doesn’t result in boredom: No. 3’s rocking ostinato often includes unexpected dissonances; No. 4 rambles harmonically, and has a quite intense, unexpected period about halfway through. It also requires some amazingly acrobatic right-hand fingerwork. No. 5’s melody sounds oddly like a Schubert song. No. 16 is on a large scale—at 9 1/2 minutes, it’s twice as long and complicated as most. No. 17 could be by Mozart.

Crammed onto this single CD (look at the total timing!) is every Nocturne Field wrote. Perhaps one can take only so much beauty. But play a few at a time and wonder at Roe’s divine lyricism and phrasing. These works deserve to be better known.
— Robert Levine, Stereophile (September 2016)