Cann sisters exude special warmth

  • Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph by Ashley Gillett)

    Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph by Ashley Gillett)

  • Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph supplied)

    Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph supplied)

  • Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph supplied)

    Concert pianists Kimberley and Michelle Cann (Photograph supplied)

There is always a frisson of anticipation before a live concert, but there was a special warmth emanating from the packed audience the night these two young Bermudian-born virtuosic pianists performed.

The Bermuda Cann clan were naturally out in force on Monday night — about 20 cousins, aunts, grandparents — to watch Kimberley and Michelle Cann.

The sisters took alternate turns at the microphone to introduce the music, teasing each other all the while and delighting us with gentle musical rivalry, all of which added to the intimate, family feel of the concert at City Hall’s Earl Cameron Theatre.

First, Bach’s Organ Sonata No 4 (BWV 528) arranged for two pianos by the Cleveland-based American composer, Viktor Babin.

As Michelle said, Bach’s 20 children — not all by the same wife, Kimberley pointed out — must have meant that there were continually new voices introduced in the Bach household, a bit like the voices succeeding each other in the composer’s masterpiece of fugue.

The sisters’ treatment of the voicings of this sonata was light-hearted, graceful and fluid without losing any fundamental seriousness, realising the sisters’ own saying “Bach means a lot to us being both introspective and joyful”.

Included in the first half were Schumann’s Andante and Variations Op 46, a rich emotive conversation between the pianos reminiscent of the changing moods in the composer’s own song cycles, followed by John Musto’s arrangement of the Symphonic Dances and arias from Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Musto condenses the emotional content of the music through thematic links so as to make its impact doubly powerful.

The second half of the concert started with technical fireworks in the Variations on a theme of Paganini by the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, who brilliantly used dissonance and discord to stretch the thematic content almost to breaking point.

Next came a contemplative piece, a miniature song without words, Richard Strauss’s Serenade Op 17 No 2.

The finale was a richly textured and nuanced Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin with Kimberley playing the orchestral score and Michelle the solo piano.

This was the freshest, finest performance of Gershwin’s composition that many of us had ever heard and brought us all spontaneously to our feet.

Thank you, and welcome back, Kimberley and Michelle!

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Published Jan 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 26, 2018 at 8:46 am)

Cann sisters exude special warmth

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