Star Wars revisited

Wow, nearly a month has gone by since my last blog entry—time flies! While things have been relatively quiet on the duo front, Greg and I want you to know that exciting things are on the horizon, most notably our debut album (which is due to be released in January). In the meantime, check out the latest videos we've posted on YouTube (or watch them below). In these videos you will see Greg and I performing two movements of our Star Wars Fantasy: Four Impressions for Two Pianos. Both performances were taped live in concert.

This performance of "Impression 1" was an encore at Greg's master's degree recital at The Juilliard School in April 2006. Impression 1 is an Art Tatum-esque rag based on the iconic Cantina theme from the original Star Wars film, otherwise known as Episode IV. It is fiendishly difficult (note the constant jumps in the bass and the skittering passagework all over the keyboard) but its spirit is carefree and playful. Fragments of other musical motives are embedded in the texture: if you're astute enough you may notice the Force Theme, Darth Vader's theme, Yoda's theme, and various excerpts of the battle music.

This performance of "Impression 2" was recorded at my master's recital at Juilliard, just a few days after Greg's recital. This movement, in contrast to the first movement, is fluid and free. It is centered on the ubiquitous Force theme.

While composing this work, Greg and I intentionally avoided a direct "translation" of John Williams's score. Instead, we focused on the music's character, atmosphere, and irresistible appeal. I recall watching all six films in succession during spring break that year, stuffing ourselves with pizza and Chinese food. Greg and I marveled over virtuosic light saber duels, argued over the coolness of Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo (Greg prefers Luke whereas I'm a Solo woman, probably because I've always loved the romantic tension between him and Leia, one of my favorite cinematic heroines!), and—of course—we noted which themes excited and moved us. This process of watching the entire series and listening to all the soundtracks was not only a tremendous source of enjoyment and satisfaction (believe me, the arc is really impressive when you take in all the episodes consecutively in two sittings!); it ultimately provided us with a global view of the saga. As we transfered our ideas to paper, we sought to capture the films' epic scope, mythic resonance, and undeniable sense of fun. We hope these pieces—and performances—relay fresh and piquant impressions of the Star Wars universe. Enjoy!

P.S. In light of the recent Thanksgiving holiday, I just want to tell you how grateful Greg and I are to have such devoted and enthusiastic fans. You're the best! -Liz