Notes and Editorial Reviews
It is astonishing to find that Gil Shaham was only 15 when he recorded this formidable recital. No virtuoso of whatever age need feel anything but pride in the amazing playing here.
It is astonishing to find that Gil Shaham, still in his teens, was only 15 when he recorded this formidable recital, and that the results have been kept in cold storage for over three years. Whether or not the delay has anything to do with reticence over interpretations which the violinist may later improve on, no virtuoso of whatever age need feel anything but pride in the amazing playing here. The sequence culminates in an account of the Carmen-Fantaisie of Sarasate, which crowns the rest with its youthful exuberance, its brimming joy in
sheer technical brilliance. There, too, the young man is fully master of any interpretative problems, relishing the lyricism and rhythmic verve of Bizet as translated by Sarasate in these five linked movements.
What struck me initially as being unkind of DG was the decision to issue this account of the early Strauss sonata almost simultaneously with the Chung version. That Chung performance brings an astonishing revelation. Chung and Zimerman have for me transformed this sonata, revealing in their vein of imaginative fantasy a magic that I had never suspected was present in this early work.
Shaham and his excellent Sri Lankan partner, Rohan de Silva, do not give a performance in that league, but in their youthful urgency they are still most persuasive, in no way falling short of even such accomplished artists as Sitkovetsky with his partner, Pavel Gililov on the Virgin Classics issue. Shaham and de Silva are winningly impulsive in the first movement, mercurial in their urgency while the lovely melody which opens the slow movement has easy warmth, with no self-consciousness. The finale may present more problems for the pianist, but with good, immediate sound it is still a strong reading.
The encore pieces that make up the rest of the disc are all beautifully done too, with no hint of stress in the double-stopped chattering of the Paganini Caprice, retitled Capriccio in this Schumann arrangement. More mature artists may find even greater charm in the Kreisler and Elgar pieces than Shaham does, but in its own right the issue can be warmly recommended to anyone who fancies the programme, or who wants to marvel at the brilliance of a 15 year old.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone 3/1990
Works on This Recording
La capricieuse, Op. 17 by Sir Edward Elgar
Rohan De Silva (Piano),
Gil Shaham (Violin)
Written: 1891; England
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat, Op.18: 1. Allegro ma non troppo
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat, Op.18: 2. Improvisation (Andante cantabile)
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat, Op.18: 3. Finale (Andante-Allegro)
3 Romances, Op.94: No.2 Einfach, innig
24 Caprices for Violin, Op.1 - transcribed for violin and piano by Robert Schumann: No. 1 in E flat major
Tempo di menuetto (in the style of Pugnani)
Carmen Fantasy, Op.25: Introduction. Allegro moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op.25: 1. Moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op.25: 2. Lento assai
Carmen Fantasy, Op.25: 3. Allegro moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op.25: 4. Moderato
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