The New York Times reviews Leif Ove and Marc-André Hamelin’s duo recital at Carnegie Hall

“Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” retains the power to shock in part through its raw, blazingly colorful orchestration. But the piece actually first came into being as a piano duo. Throughout his life, Stravinsky liked to sketch his pieces at the piano. So the piano version of the “Rite” is, in a way, the original.

“In 1912, a year before the riot-inducing premiere of the “Rite” by the Ballets Russes in Paris, Stravinsky played the first part of the score for a small group at the home of the French critic Louis Laloy. His partner was Debussy. (Imagine being in attendance.) When they finished, Laloy recalled in his memoirs, everyone was “dumbfounded” and “overwhelmed” by this “hurricane which had come from the depths.”

“On Friday at Carnegie Hall, two formidable pianists, Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin, ended their concert with a fearless, incisive and surprisingly alluring account of this “original” version of the “Rite.” The audience may have been as overwhelmed — in the best way — as that group in 1912. Familiar episodes of this score — the pummeling “Dances of the Young Girls,” the ritualistic “Spring Rounds,” the mysterious introduction to the second part — came through with stunning freshness and clarity. There was a long standing ovation …”


Source: New York Times