Review: Sparks Fly Off Our Steinway Grand!

Duo Fortin-Poirier

Duo Fortin-Poirier

Review by Jim Leonard

This Valentine Day’s concert began with an appropriate song by Salmon Arm singer Heather Harker; ably accompanied by Alex MacArthur, titled “Les Chemins de L’Amour” (The ways of love) by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) Heather had a lovely lyrical tone while singing this song.

Heather, a french immersion kindergarten teacher, then showed her teacher’s personality with a dash of humour by performing “Hippo and Gnu” by Flanders and Swan. These selections were greatly enjoyed by the audience.

The performance of Duo Fortin-Poirier was enhanced by the video camera suspended over the piano keyboard; the image was projected on a large screen at the back of the stage. We could see the magic enfolding from the four hands of the duo. In some selections it seemed as though they were competing for keys!

Marie-Christine and Amélie created an intimate and warm atmosphere with their commentary on the pieces which were quite varied in style and texture. Having played together for fourteen years, they showed an extraordinary powerful partnership.

They designed a program which started casually with “Valses Caprice” by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and grew in intensity through the “Legends” of Antonin Dvorak(1841-1904) to the pivotal point of the program, “Souvenirs” by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) Here the virtuosity of the performers took flight and never looked back.
The selections after the intermission offered a passionate memorial selection (“Adios Nonino”) by A. Piazzolla (1921-1992), “Chroniques d’une Coupe a blanc” by Canadian composer Vanessa Marcoux (b.1986); Vocalise by Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) arranged by Greg Anderson; and a modern work complete with rhythmic knocking sounds and assaults on the strings in the piano, “Garden of Eden:The Serpents Kiss” by W. Bolcom (b. 1938)
The generous audience rose to their feet in appreciation of an excellent and varied program- brilliantly played. The duo then offered a short encore; a quiet arrangement of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” We almost forgot it was winter!

The next NOCCA concert will feature the Bergmann Duo with Sarah Hagen – an exceptional 6 hands on 1 piano acrobatic musical spectacle on Monday April 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm. More info at

Review by Jim Leonard for the Vernon Morning Star.