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Gil & Orli Shaham in recital: 2.16.2008

March 11th, 2008 · No Comments

Gil & Orli Shaham recital 2.16.08
Whenever I have the opportunity, I attend a live performance by Gil Shaham.  His concerts are reliably musical, programmed intelligently and, generally, flawless.  I have been following his career for over 15 years now – attending one of his recitals has the air about it of catching up with an old friend.

For this Atlanta-area recital on February 16th, Gil partnered with his pianist sister, Orli.  The pair have recorded Mozart’s entire piano & violin literature for video, so they eased comfortably into the evening with the K. 306 Sonata in D major.  At the conclusion of the piece, Orli rose from the piano and addressed the sold-out audience with her familiar voice.

Familiar because since 2006, Orli has been the host of the entertaining but much too short NPR classical music segment entitled “Dial-A-Musician,” in which she calls up her musician frends while on the air and asks them questions such as “Why do the musicians in the string section bow in the same direction at the same time?”  The fresh take on such mundane queries is fueled by Ms. Shaham’s obvious love of the subject matter and enthusiasm for sharing it with others.  That spirit was clearly in evidence as she described the imagery and purpose behind the Faure and Szymanowski pieces that ended the first half of the program.  She attempted to engage her brother into the presentation, but he would merely nod and smile, allowing her to work the crowd as effectively as she does with millions weekly on the radio.

The second half of the program was a workout of timing and finesse. The jagged lines of the Bartok were complemeted by the singing melodies and rhythms of the Prokofiev Second Sonata, a piece that Gil and Orli have had in their performing repertoire for several years.

You can tell the true acoustic of a performance space by how good the applause sounds: at the close of the Prokofiev Sonata, Spivey Hall was filled with the enthusiastic and thunderous pealing of hand claps, the sound clear and invigorating.  The pair played one encore in acknowledgement, introduced by Gil in a rare spoken moment as Faure’s setting of “Clair de lune.”

Tags: music

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