Mordecai Shehori

The Celebrated New York Concerts, Vol. 2

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Vol. 2 of the Celebrated New York Concerts by pianist Mordecai Shehori features performances from the mid-'80s, a time described by the artist as his less-disciplined youth. Shehori further defines these live performances as being played without reservation or a "safety net." These self-assessments seem to be largely -- and pleasantly -- correct. Opening with the Beethoven's Op. 111 Piano Sonata, Shehori's more youthful exuberance is at once noticeable, particularly in the insightful and joyous second movement. As live recital performances go, these are remarkably clean of refinement and accuracy as many studio recordings. This is especially true in the Rachmaninoff Op. 16 Six Moments Musicaux, where Shehori demonstrates that his engaging level of introspection and understanding of the score is matched with a dazzling and controlled technique. Even the most intricate of passagework is clearly audible, and Shehori never lets listeners lose sight of the melody through all of the accompanimental figurations. Shehori completely switches gears with Kabalevsky's Third Sonata, which contains passages of unbelievable power followed by moments of utter stillness; the transitions between such contrasting sections are delivered with total control. Sound quality and balance are also quite nice throughout; many thanks to the New York audiences who are very seldom heard in the background. Existing fans of Shehori's more recent performances will no doubt enjoy this glimpse of the artist as a younger man.

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