“You would have to go a long way to hear better duo playing than this”
— The Whole Note, May 2017
From AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE January/February 2021 (p. 178)
The Newest Music II BOYD
Thomas, Sheng, Mirzaee, Penderecki Miller-Porfiris Duo—MilPo 4818—41 minutes
From the first measures of Augusta Read Thomas’s dazzling Rumi Settings the virtuosity of this duo is radically apparent. Usually I speak mostly about the works themselves (I’m often reviewing premiere recordings) but let me get truly poetic about the Miller-Porfiris Duo—they deserve it. Violinist Anton Miller’s double stops at the beginning of IV are faultless and thick. And violist Rita Porfiris’s soulful lines in Thomas’s Silent Moon are wholly perfect: they’re weighty and are wrapped in a vibrato that generates a warmth of resonance yet never overpowers. Their performance of Penderecki’s Ciaconna in Memoria Giovanni Paolo II is so perfectly in tune that the overtones flesh out the sound in a way that feels like we’re listening to much more than just two instruments. The duo makes the tricky harmonics in Bright Sheng’s Angel Fire I stand out like the jewels I’m sure he wrote them to be, and the exciting, jagged rhythms in Angel Fire II are executed without a hitch. Mani Mirzaee’s Wight of Shadows is one of the most charming and satisfying uses and performances of col legno battuto I’ve heard, and the hairpin dynamic at the end of this tiny movement is such an admirable moment of consummate musicianship for this to end on. This disc is in the top ten of all albums I’ve reviewed.