Monday night I went to Carnegie Hall to see a piano four hands performance by Radu Lupu and Daniel Barenboim, which left me very clear about something I'd always suspected: That four hands music sucks.It is the rare instance in which twenty fingers on a keyboard sound better than ten.
Four hands music may not be such a joy to listen, but it's a whole lot of fun to play. In that, it's like the vast majority of free improv (some free improv is great, of course, but we're talking about rare, transcendent artists). Except that free improvisers are lucky to get an audience of 30, and B + L sold out Carnegie Hall (that is, a little over 2,800).
They were kind of comically mismatched duet partners too, Barenboim competent and stiff as usual, Lupu getting that extraordinarily resonant yet languid sound out of the piano that, while no louder than Barenboim, just overpowered him.
They ended with a double piano sonata. Still not as satisfying, to me, as hearing either of them play solo, but a huge improvement over that four hands nonsense.