Classic Review: Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra's plays the "Three Bs"

Bach, Braham and Bartok were played at the recent concert.

By URY EPPSTEIN
December 26, 2016 21:05
THE IPO with its music director, Zubin Mehta.

THE IPO with its music director, Zubin Mehta.. (photo credit: SHAI SKIFF)

 
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IPO
Three Bs
Jerusalem ICC, December 13


Pianist Andras Schiff’s masterful playing made the piano sound almost like a harpsichord in Bach’s keyboard Concerto Nr.7 – the curtain raiser in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s recent subscription concert.

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Though the piano did not yet exist in Bach’s time, many contemporary pianists commonly make the piano in Bach’s works a vehicle for demonstrating their virtuosity. Schiff, on the other hand, wisely adopted a harpsichord-like touch on the piano, playing in a non-legato style, and refraining from exaggerated virtuosic tempi, thus making the performance a rare aesthetic experience.

Gil Shaham, the soloist in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, emerged as a veritable master of utmost delicate, soft, almost inaudible dynamics. The slow movement’s lyrical mood was thus expressed most movingly. In striking contrast, the final fast movement was performed with exuberant temperament.

In Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Schiff appeared as one of the few instrumentalists who excel also as conductor. He displayed authoritative command of the orchestra, highlighting its many enchanting instrumental soli, shaping convincingly also the work’s sarcastic passages.

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