Artur Pizarro and Rinaldo Zhok are two great pianists brought together by their solo CDs on Odradek. Artur Pizarro's has his acclaimed Rachmaninov series, and Rinaldo Zhok's disc of Liszt-Verdi transcriptions.
Both pianists were also taught by the great Aldo Ciccolini, whose legacy continues to influence them. Inspired by the other's interpretations, they decided to collaborate, forming the Pizarro-Zhok Piano Duo in 2014. Both pianists are passionate advocates for music written for piano four hands (as distinct from music for two pianos). This repertoire, too often underrated, is described by the artists as representing "the most profound and complex form of making music together".
Dvorák is amongst the most prolific composers of music for piano four hands, achieving a rare balance between musical depth and sensitivity, and an appealing honesty and immediacy.
This disc features one of the great masterpieces for piano duo, Dvorák's From the Bohemian Forest, which takes the listener on a dream-like journey into a vivid musical landscape. Dvorák's poetic music sheds the conventions and inhibitions of the piano-writing of his time, creating an array of striking effects which transport the listener into beautiful Bohemian woods. In the process, Dvorák requires that the pianists act as one, with a single concentration of purpose and precise execution of intricate technical demands. The results are breathtaking.
The disc also features Dvorák's own arrangement for piano duo of his Dumky Trio – an arrangement which is not a transcription, but may be regarded as parallel version, equal to the Trio in gravitas and significance. As the artists put it: "This is equivalent to a painter who portrays the same subject several times, highlighting different perspectives, aspects and techniques."
Since its formation, the Duo Pizarro-Zhok has already performed at the Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias in Funchal, the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon; with the Orquestra de Câmara Portuguesa, conducted by Pedro Carneiro, the Orquestra Clássica da Madeira conducted by Pedro Andrade; and in the inaugural concert of the Orquestra Sinfónica de Cascais conducted by Nikolay Lalov.
“Pizarro and Zhok palpably relish the challenges and their Yamaha is bright and immediate sounding. From the Bohemian Forest is rendered with great vividness, be it the insidiously memorable melody of ‘In the Spinning-Room’ or the ‘Witches’ Sabbath’…Dvorak reworked his Dumky Trio for piano duet…the innate tension between piano and strings may have been lost, but in its place is a sense of just how starkly daring this work is…an absorbing and entertaining disc” Gramophone