Twenty fingers and 88 keys add up to a fine evening of duets

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

What could be more entertaining than an evening of parlor music played in one of the most gorgeous parlors in the Southern Tier – the Kilmer Mansion attached to Temple Concord – by two of the best pianists in Central and Southern New York.
Pej Reitz, a faculty member at Binghamton University, and Ida Tili Trebicka, who teaches at Syracuse University, swayed in unison on the piano bench, as they performed a sonata by Mozart, waltzes by Brahms, Norwegian dances by Grieg, Spanish dances by Moritz Moszkowski and a chaser of Gershwin songs from Porgy and Bess.
Calling themselves the Trebicka-Reitz Duo, the two met in 2011 when invited to be part of “Live at Everson” concert series in Syracuse. They’ve since formed the 40 Fingers Ensemble, composed of four faculty pianists from Syracuse University, Binghamton University, LeMoyne College and Ithaca College.
Some 50 people attended this “Music in the Kilmer Mansion” recital last Saturday (Oct. 27).
For those who haven’t played piano duets, they’re an exercise in blending egos, styles and techniques. Sharing the middle octaves of the keyboard requires negotiation, and a dance of coordination that sometimes finds the pianists’ hands crossed. Reitz and Trebicka rock at all that. With obvious enjoyment in the music, and with great verve and spirit, they missed nary a note.
Mozart, credited as the creator of the piano duet, wrote them to perform with his sister. In tribute, Reitz and Trebicka opened with Mozart’s Sonata in D Major K. 381 – a pleasing, straight-forward and utterly classical piece that ends with a merry romp around the keyboard. Brahms’ series of 16 lush and many-keyed waltzes in his Opus 39 collection demonstrated how the genre evolved by the 1800s. An audible sigh went through the audience, as the duo launched into the well-known Brahms’ Lullabye, the second to the last waltz.
Reitz and Trebicka then took listeners on a trip around the world, with a guided tour to Norway by Grieg and Spain by Moszkowski, again following the progress of the piano duet into the 20th century.
The only works not written originally for dual pianos, Summertime and I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ by Gershwin, were encores, and the perfect capper for visit to a an era gone by.

The next concert in the series will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013, and will feature the Mobius ensemble (pianist Michael Salmirs, violist Roberta Crawford and cellist Stephen Stalker) with guest clarinetist Richard MacDowell. For tickets, e-mail, or call 723-7355.

Posted in Review. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Twenty fingers and 88 keys add up to a fine evening of duets
%d bloggers like this: