The Santa Barbara Symphony gave a remarkable performance at the Granada last Saturday, playing compositions that featured talented pianists Natasha Kislenko and Markus Groh. The first piece, Manuel de Falla’s dreamy Nights in the Gardens of Spain, showcased Kislenko’s elegant touch, evocative of a summer romance in Andalusia.
Undoubtedly what drew most members of the audience to the Granada was Kislenko and Groh’s performance Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat Major. The energetic composition pairs two pianos opposite each other and is written as a musical dialogue with two unique voices. Like a duel, Kislenko and Groh exchanged Mozart’s melodies not only with one another but with the formidable sound of the symphony members. A true drama that left the audience breathless, Kislenko and Groh received a lengthy standing ovation.
The final piece, Tchaikovsky’s deeply sensuous Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor was Groh’s turn to enchant, his style of playing stern and physical. Tchaikovsky’s high-intensity composition paired with Groh’s incredible precision commanded a powerful final applause. Once again, the S.B. Symphony delivered a memorable performance.