Kolacny Piano Duo
At Inter-American Development Bank
The lone Steinway on the stage at the Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank Thursday evening awaited the Kolacny Piano Duo, the Belgian brothers Steven and Stijn Kolacny, who, in their U.S. debut, presented a crisp recital of works for four hands. If there were moments when the piano bench seemed crowded, the Kolacnys used filial closeness to advantage on the keyboard, with uncanny perception of each other's movements. Stijn played the lower register and pedals while older brother Steven coaxed sprightly treble melodies and arpeggios through a lighthearted program of mostly 19th-century favorites.
Opening with a Schubert dance, D. 618, that alternated pastoral passages spread like smooth butter with enthusiastic waltz postures, the pianists continued the theme with Hungarian Dances by Brahms and Dvorak's Slavonic Dance, Op. 46, No. 3. Ravel's "Mother Goose" Suite showcased the art of four-handed piano by the clearly defined voices in the five pieces.
The cuckoo voice in "Tom Thumb," the lovers in "Beauty and the Beast," the feather-light tinkles in the "Fairy Garden" rippled from the brothers' fingers like sparkles of fairy dust.
The brooding, robust chords of contemporary Belgian composer Wilfried Westerlinck's "Preludio per una Danza Antica" provided texture to the recital.
The brothers have made the four-hand piano oeuvre of early-20th-century composer Erik Satie their own, releasing a disc of the French composer's neglected works. While the entire program was flawless, their body language conveyed more intimacy with Satie's "Je Te Veux" ("I Want You"), a song the brothers arranged themselves for four hands.
--L. Peat O'Neil
Super Furry Animals
At the Black Cat
Combining guitar-based rock with electronics is one of contemporary pop music's principal challenges, but the Super Furry Animals don't fret about the post-rock-man's burden. Thursday night at the Black Cat, the Welsh quintet opened with the almost all-electronic "Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)," only to segue into three punky rockers, "The Teacher," "God! Show Me Magic" and "Do or Die."
That mini-set offered most of the evening's straight-ahead rock, although there was much cacophony in the other songs, most of them drawn from the new "Guerrilla" album and its predecessor, "Radiator."
Gruff Rhys's and Huw Bunford's guitars churned under their high harmonies during the soaring Beach Boys-like coda of "Ice Hockey Hair," and keyboardist Cian Ciaran appointed most of the songs with electronic blats and bleats.Rhys played acoustic guitar for much of the show, but during "Play It Cool" he bent over to strum a solo on an electric guitar leaning against an adjacent stand.
It's this sort of playful juxtaposition--and the songs' exuberant tunefulness--that distinguishes the Animals' music. It was entirely characteristic that the set's most delicate passage was the introduction to a heavily electronic song (with an unprintable title) built around a braying loop sampled from Steely Dan.