What keeps CONNECTING CULTURES: FOUR HAND PIANO MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD, the BLUE GRIFFIN album of music for piano 4 hands that features the peerless Deborah Moriarty and Zhiua Tang, from being a showcase for a duo merely playing a disconnected assemblage of favorite works of theirs is, in their heartfelt words, how: “The inspiration for this project arose during the global pandemic… Isolation and silence have separated us from each other and from our musical heritage… Through these pieces it is possible to discern a unified human characteristic that has been poignantly revealed by this pandemic… “

Selecting hope-filled spirituals by the Afro-American Florence Price, dainty nursery songs by the pioneering female composer Amy Beach, two lively Slavonic Dances of Dvořák,  a charming set of variations by Mozart, exotic works by Chinese composer Wang Jianzhong – Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon – and fellow countryman Gong Huahua’s Mountain Harvest, two Flamenco-inflected dances from Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve, and capping it all with a rousing version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the duo happily mix the well-known with the unfamiliar, playing with warm hearts and cool brains, flawless technique and immense musicality, while uniting their choices of joyful melodies through a stated search for a cultural and spiritual unifying common ground that “will promote spiritual healing during a time of turmoil.”

CONNECTING CULTURES is a socially important and artistically inspiring enterprise that both entertains and edifies, bringing together through the universal language of music, beautifully played works from China, Austria, Bohemia, Spain, and America coalescing in happy confluence.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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