(photo credit: Wikicommons)
Believe it or not, but one hundred years have passed since Stravinsky’s at the
time ultra-modern, provocative, vehemently booed Rite of Spring was premiered.
The centennial was appropriately celebrated in the Israel Festival by the
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederic Chaslin.
It was an
impressive performance. It might have been even more impressive if climactic
high points had been followed by even a split-second breathing rest to let the
music sink in.
No less impressive, though, was Ishay Shaer’s solo
rendition of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.
Shaer, an Israeli
pianist who seems to be known better abroad than in his home country, made it
hard to believe that only his left hand commanded all the ranges of the
keyboard. It was not only a brilliant virtuosic achievement of this demanding
work, but also rhythmically gripping, and sensitively conveyed its abundant
subtle nuances of dynamics and delicate sound timbres.