Porgy and Bess, and Other Stories in Sound

We are fortunate at Pontiac Enchanté to hold our concerts in a venue that has two excellent concert grand pianos, and on many occasions through the past few concert seasons Duo Octavian has used those instruments to explore some of the powerful repertoire written for duo pianos.  Carson Becke and Suren Barry have been playing together as a duo since 2016, but have been friends/enemies for far longer: they both grew up in Ottawa, and got to know each other as bitter rivals at the annual Kiwanis Music Festival (often tying for second behind their more talented contemporaries).  Since then, they have put aside their childhood rivalry, and have become good friends and colleagues.  CLICK HERE to read about their work as a duo.  At this concert, they will present three pieces that are all fundamentally about conveying stories through music.  Ravel's tender Mother Goose Suite evokes the naive world of childhood fairytales, while La Valse is decidedly more sinister: the piece begins with an elegant waltz that builds up energy until it careens wildly out of control.  While Ravel denied any allegorical intention behind the piece, many see it as an allegory for the destruction of European society during World War One.  The program finishes with a selection of scenes from Gershwin's only opera, Porgy and Bess, including some of the best loved numbers (Summertime, It ain't necessarily so, Bess you is my woman now).  While much of the music from the opera is well known, the story itself is less famous.  As Carson and Suren play through the opera, silent-movie-like titles will be displayed on the screen behind them, guiding the viewers through the dramatic narrative of Gershwin's masterpiece.  

Saturday, October 21st, 2023         4:30pm


Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'Oye (Mother Goose Suite)          

Maurice Ravel: La Valse

George Gershwin (arr. Dmitri Alexeev): Suite no. 1 from Porgy and Bess


Duo Octavian

Carson Becke, piano

Suren Barry, piano