Piano Squared: KeyedUp at Tenri Institute
February 2, 2012
By Angela Sutton, Feast of Music

Marc Peloquin and Roberto Hidalgo, performing as the piano duo Split Second, gave a concert almost entirely of works from our young twenty-first century Saturday night at the Tenri Institute in the Village. Between their tightly-executed, physically impressive performances, the musicians discussed walks around New York, the virtues of not-quite playing together, and sweaty armpits.

Each half of the program led off with a two-piano work. Machinary by Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, was a tricky set of exaggerated rhythms, challenging the listener's ability to follow. John Musto's Passacaglia, originally written for orchestra, had a steady ebb and flow with an effective buildup after a more muted preparation.

Four-hand piano works formed the rest of the program. Nils Vigeland's Intertwined made as much of the pianist's gyrations as it did of its music, since both players were constantly interlocking arms to hit their assigned keys. Though their parts were in constant competition, the pianist's careful practice (hopefully in an air-conditioned room) prevented any unfortunate elbows to the gut.

Drew Hemenger's Four Places in New York, inspired by walks around West Side neighborhoods, included a dramatic picture of George Washington Bridge traffic - a real physical test for the pianists.

Peloquin and Hidalgo closed their program with a two-hand arrangement of Maurice Ravel's La Valse: a nightmare vision of a Viennese ball that had the audience nodding along right up until the final explosion.