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Christina and Michelle Naughton: One stage, two pianos and a beautiful night

(L to R) Christina and Michelle Naughton; Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.
(L to R) Christina and Michelle Naughton; Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.(L to R) Christina and Michelle Naughton; Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

The curtains closed on another successful Society of the Performing Arts season with Christina and Michelle Naughton duo pianist. These two sisters provided a dynamic performance and wonderful music by playing on together or solo on pianos.

The first two pieces the pair sat shoulder to shoulder playing as one body. Each complimented the other in movement and melody. They moved in perfect rhythm as their fingers worked magic on the keys. The opening piece of the night was “Andante and Variations in B-Flat Major, Opus 83a” composed by Felix Mendelssohn. This piece displayed the talent of each player individually as well as collectively. As reading from the program notes by Carl Cunningham, the theme is “simple, lyrical and neatly balanced in its phrasing…” which allows the pianist and audience to enjoy the two as they work together playing this beautiful piece.

The following piece “Lebensturme” (“Storms of Life”) composed by Franz Schubert, who wrote many duet pieces. From the opening notes of this piece, it was a heavier, more powerful piece that allowed the audience to experience every emotion. The sisters on stage display such emotions and power when they are playing, their movements often captivate you as the music flows over you. This piece was both commanding and bold and served as a perfect follow up piece to the opening.

The third piece the two separated to their own pianos. "La Valse" a darker waltz piece composed by Maurice Ravel. Apart each player exhibited their power and strength. Together, audience could appreciate the talent that these two share and when they took the keys of their own piano the entire dynamic changed. Audiences were able to see not only the combined talent that these sisters shared, but were able to fully appreciate their individual talent as well. Each performer had a distinct feel and sound that they played and used to captivate the audience.

After a brief intermission, the duo returned for their finale piece "The Rite of Spring" composed by Igor Stravinsky, which is a ballet piece. Despite only having the two on stage, through their performance and playing audiences could imagine if an entire production was performed before them. Both performers have their own varying styles and strengths when performing that became apparent in this extended closing piece. They perfectly complimented each stroke of the piano as they played their way towards a rousing finale. Following a brief exit, the pair returned for an “encore” and played again side-by-side. This was a lively, fun, energetic piece to help close out and bring the crowd to its feet.

Society of the Performing Arts has already put out their 2014-2015 season. For season ticket information, visit their website at www.spahouston.org or call 713-227-4SPA (4772). Various packages and prices are available and single tickets will be on sale as well. Don't miss your chance to see a diverse and unique array of performing arts in Houston next year with the Society of the Performing Arts.