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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Duo Appassionata performs four-hand piano music of Mozart

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  •      MILFORD & HAWLEY - Four-hand piano team Dongsok Shin and Gwendolyn Toth, aka Duo Appassionata, will perform Saturday, June 14th, 5:30 p.m., in the Great Hall at Grey Towers National Historic Site, and Friday, June 20th, 8 p.m., at the Hawley Silk Mill.
           They will be playing a reproduction of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's fortepiano, which was made in the 1770s or 1780s.
       The program will include a couple of Mozart's pieces, of course, but it will also feature sonatas by two of his contemporaries: Muzio Clemente and Johann Christian Bach, the youngest of Bach's 20 -- yes, 20 -- children. J.C. Bach and Mozart were friends, and they performed four-hand piano together when little Wolfie was touring as an eight-year-old sensation.
        Fortepianos were the new thing when Mozart was growing up in the 1770s. Unlike the harpsichords they replaced, fortepianos allowed performers to vary how loud each note would sound. Unlike today's grand pianos, though, fortepianos produced a more mellow sound, and they only spanned four or five octaves.
    ••• Piano Playing as Doubles Tennis
        The fortepiano's shorter keyboard makes the challenges of playing four-hand pieces on one instrument especially exciting to watch; no wonder one observer compared Shin and Toth to "a great tennis mixed doubles team, with a smooth expertise, and absolute sensitivity to the partner." (They had better show sensitivity: Besides the fact that they're playing in such close quarters, Shin and Toth are also husband and wife.)
       In addition to their work together, Dongsok Shin has toured worldwide as the keyboard player of the Baroque ensemble REBEL and has performed at Carnegie Hall with Renee Fleming. Gwendolyn Toth is director of the Baroque ensemble ARTEK; her recordings include Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. [Note to editor: The capital letters are not typos; that's the way the REBEL and ARTEK people spell their names.]
    ••• Ticket Information 
        Tickets for these concerts at Grey Towers Historic Site and the Hawley Silk Mill cost $20 at the box office or $15 when purchased in advance at http://kindredspiritsarts.org/. The public can also buy tickets at Books and Prints at Pear Alley, 220 Broad Street, Milford. Children under 15 are admitted free.
         These events are presented by Kindred Spirits Arts Programs, a nonprofit 501(3)(c) organization of volunteers. In addition to producing concerts, Kindred Spirits arranges music education events for school students.
         The concert at the Hawley Silk Mill is in cooperation with Harmony Presents.
             A Season's Pass to seven concerts costs just $90. See http://kindredspiritsarts.org/ for details about the Season's Pass or individual tickets, and/or making donations.
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