Classical review: Ishay Shaer, Etnahta, Jerusalem Theater

Young Israeli pianist, Ishay Shaer, paradoxically better known abroad than in this country, presented as last-minute substitute.

By URY EPPSTEIN
May 29, 2012 21:32
Piano Dust Buster

Piano Dust Buster_370. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A young Israeli pianist, Ishay Shaer, paradoxically better known abroad than in this country, was presented to the local audience in the Etnahta Chamber Music series as a last-minute substitute for another pianist who had cancelled.

Right from the start, Shaer surprised with an exquisitely soft touch and meditative tempo in Debussy’s Images. There was no rigidity but a Debussy-like, appealing flexibility, and a decisive, well accentuated left hand.

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In Beethoven’s Bagatelles, the pianist highlighted the contrasts between the composer’s mostly concealed intimacy and his characteristic impulsive outbursts.

The program’s highlight was Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes in their rarely performed first version (1834). Though an extremely demanding work, the pianist did not indulge in showy virtuosity, despite his impressive technical competence, but concentrated on its formidable aesthetic and artistic qualities.

He conveyed its complex and incessantly changing emotional content with utmost sensitivity and intensity. While refraining tastefully from demonstrative overstatements, he expressed the composer’s sometimes tortured and often exuberant statements subtly yet also with force of conviction.

One looks forward with expectation to this obviously talented young pianist’s further development and progress.

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