Four hands in perfect harmony

Take two talented pianists, two pianos and have them run their fingers in unison and make beautiful music. It’s a duet on two sets of ivory keys. Fantastic!

Done that.

It has been more than a year since these two talented artists collaborated and played magnificently for the Davao classical music lovers. Theirs was a much-needed presence in the thirsty Southern cultural scene and filling up a ballroom is enough proof that artists of their genre is very much welcome in this city.

And this did not escape the eyes of Mary Anne L. Espina. For this highly respected chamber musician this country has been bestowed with (she graduated with top honors, summa cum laude, from the University of Santo Tomas school of music and has a most-impressive resume of performances under her name locally and abroad), Davao is very ripe (and has been for the longest time) for these cultural endeavors but the center stage is rarely with the artiste’s presence.

Like any true artists would do, Mary Anne’s unending efforts to share the arts to everyone made her present a new collaborative performance to Dabawenyo, good friend and fellow pianist Daphne J for the Davao audience. It will be something new. It will be a challenge. It will be requiring to play side by side, a “duet” on a single musical instrument.

Four hands, one piano.

“Collaborating with another artist, especially a fellow pianist, is one thing I have always loved,” said Mary Anne.” I have been teaching piano ensemble since 1997 and have performed with many respected pianists- Nena del Rosario-Villanueva, Fr. Manuel Maramba, Raul Sunico, Najib Ismail, Jonathan Coo, Rudolph Golez, to name a few- in duo or duet concerts.

When asked why she chose to do a piano duet, music written for two pianists playing on a single piano, Mary Anne’s reply was “For one thing, it is practical. We only need one piano for rehearsing and performing.” She then added, “More important, it is fun, especially if you do it with a friend. And my co-pianists always give me more insights to the music, showing me more ways to explore and, yes, enjoy it.”

For Mary Anne’s performance with Daphne, she contemplated on a program of nothing but original compositions for piano duet. “But after discussing things with Daphne, we agreed to do piano duets composed by Mozart, Faure and the famous Hungarian Dances of Brahms for the first part, then play arrangement from the Baroque period and by Fritz Kreisler, then top it off with well-loved Filipino songs arranged by Agot Espino.”

“So here we are, one piano, four-hands. We hope you enjoy the night.” -- Mary Anne and Daphne.

It was magical

It was an wonderful evening of classics for Davao who came to and filled the ballroom to the brim.

Thank you Mary Anne and Daphne for sharing you talents and sating our thirst for classical music.

Published in Sun.Star newspaper on March 18, 2012.