TwoSense Plays Roulette (A Review)

TwoSense are L to R: Lisa Moore (piano) and Ashley Bathgate (cello; Photo courtesy of Stephen Taylor)

Ashley Bathgate, cello
Lisa Moore, piano
Brooklyn, NYC
Thursday, October 4th, 2012

It was two familiar things for me on this night–My favorite new music duo TwoSense, and the venue Roulette on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn, but this is the first time I’ve seen the duo at Roulette, and they seemed to make the place feel bigger than it was.

The evening was devoted to composers that happen to be all American, mostly living ones, and the first half of the program was three world premieres that were commissioned by the duo.

Ryan Brown’s Three Ideas Sleep (Furiously) was the first one up, and it was a plucky, uplifting delight with Ashley playing pizzicato all through the 2nd movement, followed by a chugging third movement.

Daniel Felsenfeld’s Nudities was a 2-movement piece that reminded me a bit of Stravinsky in the first part due to its ornate marching tempo. A fever-pitch vibrato by Ashley was distorted, but sounded to me like it was requested that way, and rightly so. The post-storm second movement seemed rather fitting.

Next up was the complex Hannah Lash piece Friction, Pressure, Impact, where Lisa and Ashley had to use a click track (they had earbuds, but literally nothing was said about them). A very thorny piece melodically and rhythmically, the shared melody and the slightly off tempo in the first movement was tackled so well by the duo. The 3rd movement had the two instruments playing an octave apart.

The second half of the night started with Timo Andres‘ “Fast Flows The River”. Written for hammond organ and cello, Lisa Moore switched over to a midi-connected digital keyboard with a laptop set to sound like a hammond–the switch from piano to organ for Lisa sounded like an interesting change of pace. The piece has some haunting qualities, although it seemed to distort the flow of the evening for me.

The Samuel Barber Sonata For Cello and Piano, Op. 6 was a great way to wind the evening up! I guess the familiarities of Barber come back in such a renewed fashion after a program of new music, rather the same way Schumann is made to sound young in a similar program. They brought it all back home on the final movement (Allegro appassionato).

We were treated to a really cool encore as well on this occasion–They played a piano and cello arrangement of Don Byron’s Etude #4 for piano, and had us adding claps and vocalizations. I have to say, it was a pleasure to participate with them considering that it might be the closest I come to collaborating with TwoSense!

Lisa was in crystallized fashion at the piano, and Ashley Bathgate was resonating beautifully. Whether it’s on a small closed-space barge, in a spacey hall or a museum, TwoSense seem to adapt anywhere they play and make it the best home for their art.

Lisa Moore Piano : Two Sense


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