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Wednesday, June 3, 2015


(Ishay Shaer)

Immaculate and sensitive performance of one of the greatest collection of pieces in the entire piano literature. (Review by Michael Green)

Ishay Shaer, a highly accomplished 32-year-old Israeli pianist, presented a programme of connoisseur’s favourites when he played for the Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Centre.

He has in quite a short time built a reputation in Europe and America as a performer of conspicuous skill, artistry and good judgment, and this was confirmed at his Durban recital. His choice of programme was indicative of his musical personality, all significant works by great composers, all of them technically challenging but none of them in the empty show-off category. And his keyboard demeanour, calm and undemonstrative, reinforced the impression of total dedication to the music.

He opened with Book 2 of Debussy’s Images, beautiful, subtle, descriptive pieces, the best known being Poissons d’or, Goldfish, the title speaks for itself.

This was followed by Beethoven’s Sonata in A major Op. 101, the first of the master’s last five sonatas.

This complex, often lyrical, difficult work was played by Shaer with insight and excellent tonal balance, a compelling performance of a great composition that is not heard very often.

After the interval came Chopin’s 24 Preludes Op. 28, the concise and varied works described by the 19th century pianist/composer Anton Rubinstein as the pearls of Chopin’s entire output. They encompass a wide range of moods, styles, emotions, from the persistent repeated notes of the famous Raindrop Prelude (No. 15) to the tempestuous No. 12 in G sharp minor.

Ishay Shaer gave an immaculate and sensitive performance of one of the greatest collection of pieces in the entire piano literature.

The set ends with the thundering, taxing Prelude No. 24 in D minor, and, in response to enthusiastic applause, the pianist gave an encore of complete contrast, Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.

The Prelude Performer of the evening, supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund was Amanda Kosi, a soprano. Accompanied at the piano by Bobby Mills, she showed a strong and well-controlled voice in arias by Handel and Bizet. - Michael Green