Symphony review: Naughton sisters' homecoming a success

Published On: Nov 04 2012 11:15:40 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

It is always nice to see hometown kids make good and, when Christina and Michelle Naughton took the Overture Hall stage this weekend to highlight the Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts, it was even nicer to see those good kids earn their star qualities.

The twin sisters are graduates of Blessed Sacrament School and Edgewood High School, but they are now international stars and have the honor of being Steinway Artists in New York City.

This is not their first professional Madison appearance -- they played with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra two years ago -- but it is their first star appearance with the MSO.

They played Steinway grand pianos, the MSO's Hamburg Steinway and the Wisconsin Union Theater's Steinway Model D Concert Grand. You and I could afford neither of these pianos.

On those pianos, they played Francis Poulenc's "Concerto in D Minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra," completed in 1932 to a French composer who was married to the heir of the Singer Sewing Machine fortune -- a fact that probably isn't musically important but does make the story more interesting.

And the twins had fun. In fact, they seemed to be having a blast, both with the Poulenc and with their full-length encore, "Les Groups des Six," by Darius Milhand. Their faces were almost as interesting as their music. It's pretty obvious they love making music together.

Also on the weekend program were Schubert's Symphony No. 9 and Zoltan Kodaly's "Dances of Galanta."

Each was performed beautifully -- we tend to take that for granted with the MSO -- but they seemed just a bit subdued compared to the joyful expression of the Naughton sisters.