It all began in 2011, when DuWors and Niekawa, then students at Eastman School of Music, were assigned to perform Mozart’s last Sonata for Violin and Piano K. 526 together. The magnificence of the piece not only unlocked a profound musical rapport between the two young musicians, but also inspired their name as a collective.
Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that there should be something timeless in the manner in which duo526 interpret their chosen works – and be they from the 20th century, like the compositions on DUO FANTASY. The selection itself is already superb, exploring the fantasia aspects of each piece through improvisatory style and free form. Villa-Lobos, Bax, and Bolcom each have a unique compositional voice, but heard together, they share the common thread of fantasy. Not only does this greatly contribute to the immense listenability of DUO FANTASY; more artistically, it also mirrors the relationship of the two musicians performing it.
Violinist DuWors’ audacious martelé, bold dynamics, and immense spectrum of tone are perfectly complemented by Niekawa’s ever-sensitive musical command and uncompromising precision on the piano. Together, they achieve what most duos strive for in vain: a perfect homogeneity in interpretation. There is a great joy in risk-taking to be found here, but most importantly, the two musicians are impeccably in agreement at all times.
DUO FANTASY is a wonderful example of how the sum of music is greater than its individual parts. No doubt that DuWors and Niekawa are formidable virtuoso musicians in their own right. But together, they are simply stunning.