Ermira Lefort, Marina-Maria Bilmezi (piano duet)

 

Jeux d'enfants - Bizet

Petite Suite - Debussy

Rapsodie espagnole - Ravel

From The Bohemian Forest Op 68 - Dvorak

Now that the National Concert Hall has equipped the John Field Room with a full-sized Steinway concert grand, the prospect of an evening there exploring the neglected repertoire of the piano duet is quite an attractive one. The programme offered on Monday by the Albanian/Greek duo of Ermira Lefort and Marina-Maria Bilmezi may look like one that poaches from the realm of orchestral music. But Bizet's Jeux d'enfants and Debussy's Petite Suite were both originally conceived for four hands on one keyboard, and Dvor ak's Op. 68 offers yet another instance of duettists yielding up an original - in this case, Silent Woods, better known in an arrangement for cello.

Sadly, the enjoyment to be had from Lefort and Bilmezi's playing was minimal. Their error-strewn playing frequently sounded effortful, most disturbingly in the fanfares of Trompette et tambour in the Bizet and the complexities of Feria in the Ravel.

Expressive inertia, poor co-ordination, and limited control of dynamics were the order of the day. The duo swapped places after the interval, and with the more apparently resourceful player in the black dress taking the lower part, the textures of the Dvorak approached moments of richness that had been completely absent earlier.