After two recent high-profile triumphs in New York City, the Lavrova-Primakov Piano Duo conquered Saranac! They came on a retreat with South African composer Braam van Eden to prepare several of his new works for performance and later recording. Being a trained classical pianist himself, van Eeden’s writing is idiomatic, fully exploiting the instrument’s sound palette and power. His compositions are grand, colorful, and expansive in a manner reminiscent of Franz Liszt. One of the works, Allegory, was dedicated to Hill and Hollow Music and received its world premiere – terribly exciting for us! A theme and variations, it was based on a melody by Tchaikovsky. The program followed a Russian theme mainly, the Duo also performing Arensky and Rachmaninoff.
Making the event even more special, the artists wore the most elaborate and glamorous costumes that have ever been seen north of Albany – the creations of NYC designer Madeline Gruen, a recent graduate of Pratt Institute, whose senior collection received the Liz Claiborne Award – and they changed costumes after intermission! A couple days before the concert, the Duo and Braam had given a live hour-long performance and interview on Walter Parker’s show on Vermont Public Radio, which surely helped bring in a full house. The enthusiastic audience generously rewarded the musicians with several standing ovations.