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Mordecai Shehori Plays Russian Music


Release Date: 09/29/2009 
Label:  Cembal D'amour   Catalog #: 143   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievMikhail GlinkaMily BalakirevPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,   ... 
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Shehori’s performance level and values never dip.

Mordecai Shehori’s Russian album starts the hard way, with a commanding, fluent and utterly authoritative performance of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata. One can programme things any way one wants but artists and companies make statements in the way they line up a miscellaneous programme. In this case, we go straight for the emotive jugular, and allow the Old School virtuosity of Islamey and the colouristic charm of the Tchaikovsky triptych to follow.

The bright recording quality suits Shehori’s sense of projection very appropriately. He is a master of the sonata’s quixotic moods, its splenetic moments as well as its more sanguine-melancholic ones. He
Read more avoids the assault course mentality prevalent in some circles, and also takes a different and fruitfully divergent approach to that of, say, Richter whose more militant, militaristic vision is powerfully probing in its own right: I’m citing Parnassus PACD 96-001/2, a 1958 recording. Shehori is more intent on exploring the stases and tentative measures inherent in the moment, taking a structurally cohesive, wide-spanning control. The central movement is striking for its reserve and song-without-words quality in its opening paragraphs, and also in the slow build-up to its more chiselled aural profile. The return to the opening feeling is affectingly accomplished. Unleashed and duly replenished, the finale emerges as a pent up outburst of brilliantly alive pianism. It ends a performance of excellence.

Lyric but intensely virtuosic Shehori dispatches The Skylark with an acute ear for the tensions embodied in this vortex pull between emotive states; marvellous theatrical projection without any corresponding fakery. The three Tchaikovsky pieces are examples of refined and indeed refulgent lyric poetry – the Lark (another one) – as well as the more burnished warmth of the Romance in F minor. The last of the three serves in fact as an ‘encore’ to the preceding two; the Dumka, with its sense of rolling tristesse, has ebullience and style but also a melancholic trajectory that Shehori never fails to locate but never objectifies.

Islamey receives a traversal of fiery and evocative concentration, the virtuoso demands co-existing with the alluring colouration that lend the work so formidable a construction. And then there is the far more unusual, discographically rare Tchaikovsky-Pabst Paraphrase after the opera ‘Eugene Onegin’. Laced with refined tracery, delicate trills and also graced by a tumult of virtuoso apparatus, and colour, this work demands the absolute in rhythmic control as much as anything. Shehori brings an immense sense of weight and dynamism to bear and he copes with some of its more unremitting challenges with tremendous eloquence. There’s a noticeable edit along the way: listen from 3:40 on.

In any case the Russian album establishes a repertoire-rich undertaking from Shehori. The recording dates and locations vary – between Las Vegas and New York – but the performance level and values never dip.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939-1942; USSR 
Length: 18 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
L'alouette by Mikhail Glinka
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Mily Balakirev. 
3.
Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1902; Russia 
Length: 9 Minutes 4 Secs. 
4.
Les saisons, Op. 37b: no 3, Mars "Chant de l'alouette" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1875 - 1876). 
5.
Romance for Piano in F minor, Op. 5 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Russia 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
6.
Dumka for Piano in C minor, Op. 59 "Russian rustic scene" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Length: 8 Minutes 33 Secs. 
7.
Concert Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" by Paul Pabst
Performer:  Mordecai Shehori (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; Russia 
Length: 14 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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