Two pianos aren’t necessarily better than one. The swagger of the virtuoso levels off. The shared chemistry of the unit absorbs individual charisma. Power displaces clarity.
Anderson & Roe, a Steinway Label duo that performs the Hartford Symphony Orchestra at The Keys to Romance, a Masterworks Series running from Feb. 16 to 18, succeeds more than most. Scope its YouTube page, packed with dramatically shot, softly lit, sensual short films: personal charm abounds, sounds and smiles intermingle, and chops overflow.
The music ain’t bad either: A&R’s “Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen for Two Pianos and Orchestra, which anchors the HSO’s Romance concerts, leads listeners through a range of textures and moods, dotted by stunningly quiet passages and fleet-fingered rapture.
Also happening: Mascagni’s “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria rusticana; Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 (“London); Anderson & Roe joining the HSO for the “Allegro ma non troppo” movement from Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos in D major; duets to be named later. Carolyn Kuan conducts.
Masterworks Series: The Keys to Romance takes place at the Belding Theater at the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, Feb. 16 to 18 at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Sunday). $38 and up. hartfordsymphony.org, 860-987-5900.